When FloydFest begins later this month in Virginia, a Mount Airy company will take center stage with the official sock of the popular musical event.
The Farm to Feet brand, a product of Nester Hosiery on Carter Street, will have that role for the second-straight year. It not only involves the Farm to Feet/Nester Hosiery name being associated with and promoted alongside what has been called the South’s pre-eminent music festival, but also sales of special FloydFest socks on site.
This translates to increased job stability for the 200 or so employees of Nester Hosiery who turn out 100-percent American-made socks, from raw materials through production.
FloydFest will be held for the 14th year on July 27-31 on a site in the mountains of Patrick County near the Floyd County line, off the Blue Ridge Parkway near mile marker 171. The talent lineup includes Gregg Allman, Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers, Shakey Graves and a long list of others.
A special sock line with a FloydFest theme has been produced by the local company.
“The Floyd” is a lightweight crew sock with a design inspired by the Blue Ridge Mountains that surround the event and its distinguished performers. It features guitar strings, musical notes, trees and the mountains in its design.
Those socks will be available for purchase at a Farm to Feet booth in the Outdoor Experience Tent at the festival, through Farm to Feet’s retail partners and online at http://www.farmtofeet.com.
On the Rise
The Farm to Feet brand specializes in socks for rugged outdoor uses such as hiking, climbing and snow sports — with names such as Kodiak, Denver and Park City.
Aside from being the official sock of FloydFest, a further promotion involves the Farm to Feet brand featuring — on its packaging — the winner of an On the Rise contest. It is a competition highlighting up-and-coming acts voted on by festival attendees.
The On the Rise program reflects FloydFest’s showcasing of new, lesser-known bands in addition to national acts. During the festival, attendees vote for the “On the Rise” band they like best, and the group with the most votes will win a set on FloydFest’s main stage the next year and their photo and story featured on the sock packaging.
Last year’s On the Rise winner, Look Homeward, based in Raleigh, is shown on the packaging of this year’s FloydFest sock.
This campaign is a natural tie-in, in the view of David Petri of Nester Hosiery, the marketing vice president of its Farm to Feet division.
“As an up-and-coming sock brand, we understand what it’s like to try to break out on the scene, and by featuring the winning band on our packaging we hope we can help them reach new fans,” said Petri.
He added Thursday that its partnership with FloydFest involves a recognition by Nester Hosiery of the growing popularity of such outdoor music festivals. “It’s just an opportunity to introduce our products to more people in a fun and creative way.”
Petri hopes similar arrangements can be forged with other events.
“It has helped us reach a younger audience,” company CEO Kelly Nester said Thursday of the musical involvement, getting more people interested in the Farm to Feet lifestyle collection.
Petri said that sales of socks last year at FloydFest “far exceeded” company expectations, and helped boost sales later on while also increasing brand awareness. The latter led to a decision by REI — a retail chain specializing in outdoor gear — to add Farm to Feet socks in its stores.
Wool to produce the socks is grown and sheared in the Rocky Mountains, with the remaining processes taking place within 300 miles of Nester Hosiery’s sustainability-focused knitting facility in Mount Airy.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.