Dan Reynolds’ LoveLoud festival will return in 2022, celebrating LGBTQ+ youth and their allies, after skipping the last two summers because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The daylong event will take place Saturday, May 14, at Vivint Smart Home Arena in downtown Salt Lake City, organizers announced Monday. Reynolds, the frontman for the band Imagine Dragons, will share top billing with two national acts that also emerged from the Provo club scene: The all-female indie-pop band The Aces, and the pop-rock quartet Neon Trees.
Also in the line-up are: Pop-punk musician WILLOW (which is how Willow Smith, child of movie stars Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith, is billing herself now), Brazilian pop star Anitta, and Utah-based father-daughter singing duo Mat & Savanna Shaw. More performers are expected to be announced.
Tickets for the event will go on sale Wednesday, March 9, at 10 a.m., through the LoveLoud website, loveloudfest.com. Proceeds will be donated to several LGBTQ+ organizations, including Encircle, the Tegan and Sara Foundation, The Trevor Project and Equality Utah.
This year’s festival will be the fourth in the event’s history — and the first in an indoor venue. Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith and his wife, Ashley, made the arena available for no cost, and donated $1 million to the LoveLoud Foundation.
“Without Ryan and Ashley’s commitment, the festival may have not been a reality even this year,” Reynolds said in a statement, “and we are grateful for their recognition of the event as a must-have in the community.”
Clarissa Savage, who started as a volunteer with LoveLoud in 2017 and is now its executive director, said she “always wanted to try it indoors, because a lot of the problems we’ve had in the past would have been fixed by having it indoors.”
She recalled the stifling heat during the 2018 festival at Rice-Eccles Stadium, and also said The Viv has audio and lighting capabilities the outdoor venues lacked.
LoveLoud’s goals remain the same, Savage said: To create a space for conversation to support LGBTQ+ youth in Utah. Putting the event in The Viv — in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City, three blocks from Temple Square, headquarters for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — bringing that conversation directly to the doors of the Latter-day Saint faith. (Reynolds is a member of the faith, as is Neon Trees drummer Elaine Bradley. Tyler Glenn, Neon Trees’ frontman, was raised in the faith but left the church several years ago.)
Savage said watching the festival develop from something “so grassroots” to an event on “the national sphere” has inspired the organization to boost their effort to amplify the voice of Utah’s LGBTQ+ community.
One result of that effort, Savage said, is an artists’ line-up who are LGBTQ+ and from Utah. For example, three-quarters of The Aces, who hail from Orem, identify as queer, while Glenn, who lives in Salt Lake City, is gay.
“We want to see our LGBTQ community celebrated all year long, and I think the best way of doing that is making sure these people who are from this state and are like living their best life are seen,” Savage said.
Specific details of the festival’s schedule are still being worked out, but Savage noted that there will be an effort to ensure trans youth voices are “heard and amplified.” With trans rights being attacked across the country — where even Utah families are being driven away — it’s a “huge mission” to listen to trans youth.
LoveLoud put together a video podcast interview series, ”Love Listens,” during the pandemic, Savage noted — but added that it will be nice to meet in-person again.
“What’s so unique and special about LoveLoud,” Savage said, “is that it’s a literal day where no matter where you are in your journey, you can come and you feel you will leave feeling better about something. If you come to LoveLoud, you will leave feeling some sort of love.”