OK, wow. DeLuna Fest was intense. Loud music, soft music, dancing, moshing, eating too much, not sleeping enough, drinking too much alcohol, hydrating with warm water, and I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.
Since this is the first music festival that I have been given the opportunity to do press coverage for, I wasn’t exactly sure what kind of access I would be granted or who I would be able to interview.
As it turns out, and as I should have expected, you got to work your way up the totem pole. Go figure.
However, I did have a blast and in between the sets of my favorite bands, I actually interviewed a handful of vendors as well as some of the members of two local bands. So what I’m going to do is introduce you to these magnificent individuals that I had the honor of interviewing.
People of our generation, for the most part, probably think of seafood when they hear mention of hush puppies. This weekend I was introduced to a whole new world of hush puppies. Based out ofRockford, Mich., Hush Puppies was born of the minds of a company salesman and his friend as they shot the breeze over a dinner of fried catfish and hush puppies. At the mention of the tip that some farmers have been known to feed their dogs hush puppies to quiet their incessant barking, this salesman thought to himself that the comfortable shoes he had been manufacturing shared in this quality except that they were capable of silencing a different type of barking dogs. Peoples’ feet.
Fast forward 54 years and Hush Puppies is now selling over 17 million pairs of shoes annually, spread out amongst 150 countries across the globe. Shannon Kennedy, the company’s marketing manager said, “We like to say that we invented casual.”
This fall, Hush Puppies will be releasing a new casual dress shoe that she says is marketed towards the “renegade gentleman.” The shoe will have the look of a pair of wing-tipped loafers on top and have a regular casual sneaker’s sole. It’s a bit much to take in, I know. But you must admit, they do have a certain allure to them.
This summer, six Hush Puppies reps and their mascot, Penny the basset hound, loaded up in their 1967 custom Airstream trailer for a 30-day tour of the Southeast to reignite the flame that this company once had. Starting inBirmingham,Ala.and ending inNashville,Tenn., the team is stopping everywhere from colleges to malls and even hitting a couple of music festivals.
Of course their custom trailer caught my attention initially, but the friendly staff called me over to give me a free “slap-coozie” and asked to take my picture. They had me at slap-coozie. It’s like a slap on bracelet (you might have to be at least 25 years old to know about these) you slap on your beer! It’s awesome, to say the least.
For the grand finale, I met the Hush Puppies mascot, Penny. She was definitely popular with the children who were out at DeLuna Fest with their parents. Go check out their website, www.hushpuppies.com, to pick yourself out a pair of boots, moccasins, Sperry’s, or get classy with some of their signature wing-tipped dress shoes. If you use the code OFFTHELEASH20 you can receive 20 percent off your purchase! How can you say no to those big droopy eyes and ears?
The next day I met three guys who decided to start a new clothing company called Duvin that has everything from tank tops and board shorts to snap-backs and beanies. These guys have their heads in the game and even expressed hopes of global attention. They are marketing to hip-hop artists, rock bands, surfers, skaters, and people who generally just like to have a good time. I talked to them for five minutes and this is what I got out of it:
The Corsair : So how do you pronounce it? Is it duv in? Or doo-vin?
Duvin : Doo-vin.
TC : Where’d y’all get that?
Duvin : Ummm it’s basically like a mix of our last names. It’s something that we started back in high school. We have always just had kind of a niche for dressing different than people. We’re just kind of trying to mix the older stuff with the newer stuff. Simple plain stuff with just good color waves that might not look like they match to the eye but like, if you look on the color palette, like, those colors are meant to be together, ya know?
TC : So y’all are like, the founding fathers?
Duvin : Yeah, it’s us three and then one of our buddies who’s back in Orlando. So it’s just the four of us.
TC: Cool. Do you like do it out of one of your houses or something or what?
Duvin : We all live together and then we have a couple different manufacturers that do different stuff. It’s split up between four different places all right there in downtown Orlando. One place does really detailed screen printing and the other places are just kind of chill.
TC: Do you have a shop in Orlando? Or do you sell it in stores?
Duvin : Yeah, we do wholesale to retailers. We’re in nine stores in Florida and then one in Puerto Rico. We are sending boxes everywhere. Like, we’ve sent boxes to Australia, freakin’ Canada, California, but the thing is we, like, just launched our legit website. We’ve been doing sales through Facebook for a while but our website went up like a month ago. We’re just tryin to get on the road and push a lot of the traffic back to our website because when you’re doing small quantities like us it’s tough to be in stores.
TC : Do you aim for a certain demographic or anything? Like, would you say your stuff is more for skaters? Or what..
Duvin : We don’t want to get stuck in a hole. We want to make clothes that anyone can wear. Just kind of trying to be our own boss.
Check ’em out at www.duvindesign.com for more details.
On Sunday, I caught up withChad, from To Write Love On Her Arms. TWLOHA is a six-year-old clothing company whose main goal is to raise awareness on issues like depression, self-mutilation, and addiction. The roots of TWLOHA stem from a friend of the founder who had serious struggles with both addiction and self injury.
The Corsair : So who’s the dude that started it? Did he just have a friend that was super down? Or like..
TWLOHA : We really kind of emerged out of a natural desire to talk about these issues, so we’re at DeLuna not really convincing anyone, not trying to convince anyone, these issues are real. Depression, addiction, self-injury, suicide, we all have friends, family, and ourselves that kind of prove that they exist. But we want to take it a step further and say that if you or someone you love is struggling, that help is available that hope is real, that change is still possible. So you have this gal, her name is Renee, she was struggling with cocaine addiction and self-injury and she decided she was ready for treatment but wanted to have one last binge. The next day she went to check-in for treatment and they turned her away due to the drugs that were in her system. They didn’t have a detox unit and said, “You got to get clean and stay clean for five days first.” So a guy named David, he was a friend of hers, he welcomed her in. David had a roommate, a guy named Jamie. David and Jamie, they kind of rallied the troops. They got friends together to take turns just sharing life with her. You know, helping her through those first five days. At the end of those five days, Jamie asked Renee, “How would you feel about sharing your story?” Renee said, “If one person could be affected by this then perhaps there’s been a purpose for all my pain.” So from there Renee sat down, wrote a two-page blog really about her first five days clean, and through the sharing of that, people said, “This sounds familiar, I get it, can you help us too?”
TC : So did he come up with the name? I mean, once you hear the story, it’s kind of self-explanatory but yeah.
TWLOHA : On that night of her last binge, she actually took a razor and cut the word “fuck-up” across her arm, so the name To Write Love On Her Arms comes out of believing in something more than that. What she put on her arm, it wasn’t about profanity, it was about identity, that’s how she saw her years on this planet. As just a mess up, a collection of mistakes. So To Write Love On Her Arms was, hoping to erase that, was hoping that she could define herself as something else, by the fact that she’s loved, maybe more so than she could have ever imagined. So, the name, To Write Love On Her Arms, that was the title of the story that first blog, so that just kind of stuck.”
TC : So do you guys provide a hotline? Or just promote awareness? Or…
TWLOHA : Oh, totally. We really aim to be that branch like you said, and any other resources out there, we want to be that bridge to connect people that are looking for help, to that help. And if you go to our website, www.twloha.com, you’ll find a page called “Find Help,” and that’s a collection of those resources. So if you or your friend are struggling with, you know, thoughts of suicide then we have numbers there for you like 273-TALK, or 1-800-SUICIDE. If you’re looking for resources dealing with self-injury, we have the website and contact info for S.A.F.E. Alternatives. If you’re in the wake of a sexual assault we got our friends at R.A.I.N that are there for you. So yeah we’re there to kind of be a hub, a middle step to these other resources.
TC : Do y’all travel around to a lot of festivals?
TWLOHA : Yeah, we don’t have enough personnel to hit ’em all but we got to 16 festivals this summer and this is the last one of the summer for us. We went on the Warped Tour again. This is our sixth year on the Warped Tour. We’re traveling’ all the time. Whenever we hear of a good event going down, we just want to be where people naturally come together.
TC : Where are y’all based out of?
TWLOHA : Yeah, we would all kind of call Melbourne, Fla. home. But again, so much of us travel so..
TC : Does TWLOHA kind of lean towards the music scene?
TWLOHA : Yeah, well that’s my job in the organization, to use music as a platform to spark conversation. For, I think a lot of us, I’d say that all of us on staff and everyone at this festival, that music is a place that we run to kind of make sense of our lives. That our favorite artist, our favorite album, our favorite song, it’s our favorite because it reminds us of things that are true in our lives. So you know, you’ve got so many people coming together for something that they already share in common, the fact that music moves them. For us, music reminds us that there’s things in life worth screaming about. Things in life worth dancing about. Things in life worth singing about. And things in life worth sharing with other people. I’d say that that’s the magic of a live music event, is that you are sharing this moment with thousands and thousands of other people. If you can share that moment, then I guarantee there’s other things in your life that are worth sharing, that are worth having an audience for.
TC : Is there any Christian aspects to your organization? Or is it just strictly, like, love?
TWLOHA : Yeah, I wouldn’t say so. You know if you read the story, the guy that started it kind of speaks for himself. There is some language of faith but I think in that there’s also language of questions. Of not having answers and not being satisfied with the current answers that are there. So as far as how we interact with faith, if you or your friends are looking for a faith-based treatment option, we’re going to help you find that. And if you’re at a point in your journey where you’re not comfortable with faith being a piece of that, moving forward, we understand that. We just want you to find help. So everyone on staff, you know, we all have our own beliefs, I can’t speak for everyone. But I’d say that for many people, faith has been very helpful and for others it’s been a gradual journey.
For more on TWLOHA, visit www.twloha.com.
Alright. First things first. The name. Foosackly’s. How am I supposed to pass by a food vendor with a name like that? Especially one offering a basket of five chicken fingers for only $5 AND throwing in their own signature sauce. Which by the way definitely gives Zaxby’s and Chick-fil-A a run for their money. So of course, I had to get to the bottom of this. I talked to Chris, who was in charge of the Foosackly’s operation this weekend. Here’s what I found out..
The Corsair : So where the hell did the name come from?
Foosackly’s : It’s a funny story man. The owner’s last name is actually Fusaiotti, and when he was in college and stuff they had a problem saying it so somebody spit out “Foosackly” and it kind of just stuck.
TC : That’s hilarious. I don’t know. Italian fried chicken. I probably would of never put the two together, maybe like Italian bread crumbs or something. But yeah, it’s good stuff man. So where are y’all based out of again?
Foosackly’s : We’re out of Mobile, Ala.,. But the owners actually LSU alumni. So, Geaux Tigers.
TC : So is it like, all family-owned?
Foosackly’s : It’s not necessarily family owned but it is all local. It’s only in Mobile. So it’s pretty much like a family.
TC : Do y’all have a restaurant? Or is it strictly catering?
Foosackly’s : Oh, no, we do both. We have eight locations in Mobile. Actually, we just opened two new ones. We do catering, drive-thru, and dine-in. We can do catering for football games and stuff like 150 or 500 fingers if you want it and depending on how much it is we actually deliver, too.
TC : Do you specialize in just chicken? Or do you offer other things too?
Foosackly’s : We mostly just do chicken fingers, fries, garlic toast, and coleslaw. It’s very simple. We try to keep the menu simple so we can get it out quickly and just you know, perfect what we got. We got a bunch of sauces. We brought out two this weekend.
TC : I tried that Foosackly sauce. It was real good. The lady compared it to Thousand Island…
Foosackly’s : I don’t like to describe it as Thousand Island ’cause a lot of people are deterred by the Thousand Island, you know? But it’s so hard to describe what it is, you know?
TC : Yeah, you can’t really describe a sauce. It’s like, a state of mind.
Foosackly’s : Exactly.
Alright, so there you have it folks. The voice of the vendor. I’m going to post another article focusing strictly on the music side of DeLuna Fest because, well, that’s what people paid to see. So check back for some of my highlights as well as interviews with a couple local bands who made it to the bill.