Keen Inc., best known for the Newport sandal designed 15 years ago, has signed on as a sponsor of the Newport Folk Festival.
As a sponsor of the festival, which takes place July 27-29, Keen has designed a limited-edition Newport sandal and will donate half of the proceeds to Newport Festivals Foundation’s music education initiatives. The Newport Revival sandal, named for the foundation’s music revival programs in underserved communities, will generate $50 for every pair sold to fund scholarships, instrument donations, and after-school programs.
“We couldn’t be more excited to partner with the Newport Folk Festival. Not only does it share the name and inspiration of our most iconic Keen product—the Newport sandal—this partnership also aligns with our values of giving back to those in need,” said Tyler LaMotte, chief marketing officer at Keen in a press release this week. “By working with the Newport Festivals Foundation, we are able to give back to youth in underserved communities with music-related programs that improve lives.”
The Newport Folk Festival was one of the first modern music festivals in the U.S., beginning in 1959 and becoming a venue for voicing support of the Civil Rights Movement. As a valued-led, independently owned outdoor and lifestyle footwear brand, Keen will continue this tradition of grassroots activation by setting up three call-to-action phone booths for festival attendees to reach out to their elected officials and make their voice heard on issues they care about, including support for school music education funding.
“In the last 10 years, we’ve seen a nationwide trend to cut music and arts program budgets. Despite countless studies showing how music training is essential to educational development, these programs are still seen as dispensable,” said Christopher Capotosto, creative and marketing director for Newport Festivals Foundation in a news release, which was founded in 2011 to foster the legacy of its festivals and preserve the deep traditions of Jazz and Folk music. “That’s where we come in; we work with deserving schools and communities to build and support effective music education programs through grants, instrument donations, assembly performances and more.”
“The fact that Keen is an independent company that puts doing the right thing over profits is exactly what we think the world needs more of,” said Capotosto. “Together, we are going to encourage, engage and enable communities to improve themselves through music. There’s no better partnership than that in our eyes.”