Conscious Party: U.N. World Water Day Celebration

FULL HOUSE: Dorsey Parker's Big Benefit Band plays a recent fundraising show for a nonprofit at Highland Brewing Co. The local all-star band reunites to promote the efforts of SAFE Water Now on March 21 at The Grey Eagle.
FULL HOUSE: Dorsey Parker's Big Benefit Band plays a recent fundraising show for a nonprofit at Highland Brewing Co. The local all-star band reunites to promote the efforts of SAFE Water Now on March 21 at The Grey Eagle. Photo courtesy of Parker

WHAT: A concert to benefit SAFE Water Now

WHEN: Wednesday, March 21, 6 p.m.

WHERE: The Grey Eagle, 185 Clingman Ave.

WHY: For 13 years, Asheville nonprofit SAFE Water Now has partnered with Tanzania-based Safe Water Ceramics of East Africa to produce a ceramic pot water filter that provides safe water at a rate of 3-4 liters per hour.

“The filter itself costs $40 and lasts five years for a family, so that comes out to about $1 per person per year to provide safe water for people who do not have access,” says SAFE Water Now Executive Director Tracy Hawkins.

She usually spreads the word about her organization’s work by setting up a booth at a local business, which is how she met Dorsey Parker in 2017 at Wedge Brewing Co. A frequent organizer of benefits for area nonprofits, the musician was already sympathetic to SAFE Water Now’s cause thanks to his environmental engineer father, who since the 1970s has been saying that access to clean water is probably the most important thing on which humans need to focus.

“Without clean water, you can’t have health care, and if you can’t have health care, you really can’t have education or the core building blocks needed to build a more stable, safe, better society for the world’s progeny,” Parker says.

In honor of the United Nations World Water Day, on Wednesday, March 21, at The Grey Eagle, Hawkins and Parker join forces for SAFE Water Now’s first big benefit. Andrew Scotchie opens up the event at 7 p.m. with an acoustic set. He’ll be followed by acoustic sets from Devils and Dust and Alarm Clock Conspiracy, plus performances by Laura Blackley, Ian Harrod, David Zoll, Jaime Dose and Parker’s friend Hill Roberts, who’s bringing a three-piece band with him from North Atlanta.

“They care and have a big heart and genuinely want to do something,” Parker says. “It amazes me every time I send out email, I say it may be just for a few songs, but there’s almost more people willing to volunteer than I can organize.”

Then Dorsey’s Big Benefit Band takes to the stage, with, in Parker’s words, “as many guitar players, keyboard players and singers on stage as the sound guy lets us.” They’ll play upward of 10 water-themed songs, plus original tunes from Blackley and Harrod, among others.

Along with the plentiful music, attendees will have the chance to win door prizes, learn about how safe water relates to the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals and see how the filter works in person.

“This event is for everybody,” Hawkins says. “We really want teachers, families, students, humanitarians, environmentalists, animal rights activists — everyone to come out because we can show really how safe water is important to all these causes and how together we can work to provide it.”

The U.N. World Water Day Celebration takes place Wednesday, March 21, at 6 p.m. at The Grey Eagle. Admission by donation.

About Edwin Arnaudin
Edwin Arnaudin is a staff writer for Mountain Xpress. He also reviews films for and is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) and North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA). Follow me @EdwinArnaudin

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