It’s late July, and although the temperature outside feels like early November, things are heating up at Late July. That’s because the Boston based snack company will be supplying 37,000 bags of free chips to Newport Folk Festival concertgoers this weekend.
WhatsUpNewp spoke with Late July CEO Nicole Dawes earlier this week, as well as Bill Creelman, founder of the all-natural beverage company Spindrift. In the interviews, both spoke of their personal relationship and support of the Folk Festival.
“My parents actually met at the Festival, and although I’m not positive, we think it was 1967. It’s always had a little bit of a special place in our hearts. Then, in 2009, when my father passed away, they mentioned that my parents had met there in his New York Times obituary,” noted Dawes.
When Festival Producer Jay Sweet read the obituary, he invited Dawes and her family to attend the festival. “It was a tough year, but it was an emotional and cathartic experience at the festival,” recalled Dawes. It also led to some personal reflection.
Looking back, she remembered feeling that “a festival is one of the few places where you can bring your kids to see music that you enjoy. Being there, I saw there were quite a few kids at Newport but there really wasn’t a spot for kids and families. That’s why we got involved and why this festival is so important to me and my family.”
Thus, the “Late July Family Tent” was born. The company sponsors the stage, which brings musicians to the water’s edge for intimate performances geared toward families. There are snacks and craft activities for kids, although Dawes emphasized that it’s not specifically designed as a kid’s stage. The stage hosts musicians between Fort Stage sets, and it’s usually a last-minute announcement.
“The artists really enjoy playing on it. It kind of has that vibe of what I imagine Newport was like back when my parents met there, it has that kinda’ chill, relaxed feel. Over the years, it’s morphed into a special place.”
She’s looking forward to spending the weekend in Newport. “We’re incredibly lucky to have this in our backyard, it’s a special festival. I’ve been to many others and there’s just nothing like it in the world.”
Massachusetts based Spindrift is also a longtime Festival supporter. CEO Bill Creelman explains his mission at Newport.
“First and foremost, it’s the charitable component of the festival. Jay Sweet and I have worked to qualify Newport Folk for “1% For The Planet,” and they are now a member along with Spindrift. Most of our charitable giving is in working to preserve water resources and the “point” at Fort Adams is a beautiful place to promote that.
“We support the festival because of the quality of the artists is kind of the heart and soul of Newport, as well as the history of the Festival… and the work they’ve done to keep it so authentic, clean and real,” Creelman added.
The beverages are all natural with no added sugar. “Spindrift is the first sparkling water made with real ingredients. Our product comes from real squeezed fruit and it’s unique in the marketplace. We started the business in 2010 as an alternative for consumers who were getting out of traditional sodas. Since we started, that’s accelerated, and we’re fortunate to be one of the brands benefitting from that shift.”
Spindrift isn’t far behind Late July when it comes to samples. Creelman estimates they bring over 5,000 cans of product to the Fort – some go to vendors, and some are offered as samples. We’ve served a whole bunch of folks, including artists out mingling with the fans. It’s a chance to sample a new flavor and talk to them about the background of our brand and let them know we’re based in New England.
Spindrift is also proudly supporting the recycling program along with Bike Newport to insure the Festival remains “zero footprint.” “We really appreciate our partnership with Newport, it’s great that local businesses and small businesses continue to be a part it.”