I wrote about the upcoming return of LoveLoud:
Last year, the first LoveLoud Fest drew a crowd of more than 17,000 people to the Brent Brown Ballpark in Orem, generating cheers not only for Imagine Dragons and Neon Trees but also for calls for more inclusion for LGBTQ+ individuals in Utah and throughout conservative religious communities.
Organized by Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds, the festival was created “to help ignite the relevant and vital conversation of what it means to unconditionally love, understand, accept and support LGBTQ+ youth in an effort to keep families together,” an official FAQ states.
Saturday, the festival returns in a new location — Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City — which has the capacity to more than double last year’s attendance.
“It’s really just a numbers thing,” Reynolds said in a recent phone interview. “We wanted to get as many people in as we possibly could.”
The effort was endorsed last year by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but the church’s continued support is an open question.
“We applaud the LoveLoud Festival for LGBT Youth’s aim to bring people together to address teen safety and to express respect and love for all of God’s children,” the church’s statement from 2017 reads. “We join our voice with all who come together to foster a community of inclusion in which no one is mistreated because of who they are or what they believe. We share common beliefs, among them the pricelessness of our youth and the value of families. We earnestly hope this festival and other related efforts can build respectful communication, better understanding, and civility as we all learn from each other.”
The Daily Herald requested a comment from the church in light of the return of the festival and received a new statement, which reads in part, “We remain committed to support community efforts throughout the world to prevent suicide, bullying and homelessness. Every young person should feel loved and cared for in their families, their communities and their congregations.”
But the church’s statement this year does not name the festival, and the church did not clarify — after multiple requests for clarification — the current status of any relationship between the LDS Church and LoveLoud or an update to last year’s endorsement.
“God’s message is one of hope and we want our LGBT brothers and sisters to know that they are loved, valued and needed in His church,” the statement continues.