KSL: Imagine Dragons singer launches Utah music festival hoping to unite LGBT, religious communities

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OREM — When Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds began receiving letters from fans appreciating a song featured on the TV show “Glee,” Reynolds felt devastated.

A scene from the show featured a male character singing to his boyfriend and many of those writing Reynolds told him because of his religious upbringing they assumed he didn’t accept them for who they were.

“It broke my heart to get letters like that,” Reynolds said, in a June interview with Billboard.

That coupled with losing friends to suicide and working with The Trevor Project, a national suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ youth, helped him develop a vision he said he has now floated around for years: An avenue to show that people with differing viewpoints still share unconditional love.

Now that vision is coming to life.

Reynolds, along with a group of Utah community leaders and agencies, announced the lineup for the first LOVELOUD Festival at Brent Brown Ballpark on Aug. 26, which they hope can help show that people of orthodox religions care for and love those in the LGBTQ community.

Imagine Dragons will headline the event, with Utah-based Neon Trees and Joshua James, as well as musical artists Krewella and Walk the Moon singer Nicholas Petricca, in addition to other artists who will play throughout the night.

However, it’s more than just music. It will also feature speakers between the musical acts to discuss the importance of interacting with love.

“It’s really meant to be an event that’s family-friendly, that is safe for everyone on all sides of the spectrum,” Reynolds told KSL.com. “It’s really supposed to bring everyone together in one place and to talk about a way to create a safer community.”

General admission tickets start at $11 and went on sale Monday morning with the announcement. Other ticket packages come with t-shirts and other commemorative merchandise, and a VIP package is also available. All proceeds will go to local charities such as Encircle and Stand4Kind, as well as national charities, The Trevor Project and GLAAD.

If all goes well, Reynolds hopes it becomes a yearly event with a worldwide audience. He envisions a future event that gets larger and larger with some of the world’s biggest musical acts coming to the Utah Valley area and bringing the project to other locations, as well.

“I think the Utah community is going to embrace LOVELOUD, that it’s not an attack on anyone. It’s not an attack on people of faith, it’s not an attack on any religion, it’s not an attack on the left or the right. It is just about people coming together and showing love and support for LGBTQ youth,” he said.

Jacob Dunford