SALT LAKE CITY — The Loveloud Festival has returned to Salt Lake City after a two-year pause due to COVID-19.
The LGBTQ+ charity concert had an all-star lineup of artists taking the stage at the Vivint Arena Saturday, including WILLOW, David Archuleta and the Neon Trees, as well as other artists from Utah like Mat and Savanna Shaw and Silver Cup.
“Loveloud is a celebration of the beautiful multiplicity of sexual orientations and gender identities," said Troy Williams, the executive director of Equality Utah. "And it's really a way for us to let young people know that you are loved, you are valued and you are powerful.”
Dan Reynolds, from the band Imagine Dragons, founded the Loveloud Foundation in 2017. Reynolds was raised a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and went to school at BYU. He is straight, but he credits Tyler Glenn, with Neon Trees, for the start of Loveloud. The two have been friends since their days performing in the Provo club scene, and Reynolds said Glenn helped him understand the need to bring communities and families together to talk about what it means to unconditionally love the LGBTQ+ youth.
Utah Gov. Spencer Cox had originally planned on speaking, but because he has COVID-19, Lt. Governor Deidre Henderson spoke to the crowd at Saturday's festival. She expressed her and Cox's support for LGBTQ+ youth, in light of the Utah State Legislature recently voting to override the governor’s veto of a bill banning transgender children from participating in school sports.
“Supporting people, loving people, understanding people, that's not a partisan issue,” said Henderson. “This is something that should be across party lines. We should be caring, and we shouldn't be judgmental and harsh and mean about people.”