Festival unites crowd in unity and acceptance

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Over 17,000 community members and celebrities of all religions, races and sexual orientations gathered together at the Brent Brown Ballpark on Aug. 26, 2017 to spread awareness, love and acceptance to everyone and benefit LGBTQ organizations at the biggest event ever hosted on UVU’s campus

The sold-out LoveLoud Festival included performances from Neon Trees, Joshua James, Walk the Moon’s Nicholas Petricca, Krewella, Aja Volkman and Imagine Dragons, who all came to show their love and support.

“I know that there’s a community here that’s been waiting to shout and scream as loud as they can about how much they love and accept their LGBTQ youth,” said Dan Reynolds, Imagine Dragons frontman, during a press conference before the event. “Today, 17,000-plus people are coming out to say, ‘you know what, we may have different beliefs, we may come from different backgrounds, different religions, different politics, different cultures, different ethnicities, but none of those things matter.’ We all can agree our LGBTQ youth need us.”

The night was filled with stories of love, hardship, acceptance and support for anyone and everyone. Before introducing Imagine Dragons, Dancing with the Stars judge Julianne Hough gave a tear-jerking speech about standing up for what you believe in. Hough explained that, now more than ever, the world needs to love loud. Along with Hough’s inspiring words, many other artists gave sweet words of affection toward the crowd, members of the community and the importance of accepting everyone for who they are.

Many of the attendees raved before, during and after the festival about their experience on Saturday night. Community members Kynsie Hone, Haley Mayfield and Alyssa Lloyd were all excited to attend an event that hosted some of their favorite artists and helped support a community that is very dear to them.

“The festival had a two-fold purpose. First and foremost, it was to bring awareness to teen suicide among LGBTQ youth here in Utah. And second, it was to create a space for those of orthodox religious communities and those of the LGBTQ community to come together and have a space to have friendly, uplifting discourse. [It] was a great experience and I felt that it achieved its dual purpose,” said Nathan Tanner, a BYU media arts studies major.

People in Utah are sometimes known for being close-minded and a little apprehensive when it comes to the LGBTQ community. But, according to Alan Duke, a junior construction major, this music festival brought the community together.

“The LoveLoud fest certainly promoted equality, acceptance and unity in Utah. Whether or not there is much of a shift in the way Utahans view acceptance will be seen in the coming weeks and months,” Duke said. “Although I’m definitely hopeful based on what I saw last Saturday. Amidst such a seemingly closed-minded population, an event to celebrate LGBTQ+ people drew a huge crowd, and I really didn’t hear much else but statements of love and acceptance.”