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LoveLoud Fest stirs emotion

Tony Hobday
Written by Tony Hobday

Upward of 17,000 spectators loved loud Saturday, myself included. I traveled to Orem with my roommates, had some difficulty finding Will Call and were dumbstruck by the line of people stretched far as the eye could see — and yes, I was wearing my eyeglasses (and my QSaltLake ‘Love is Love’ T-shirt). Had to plug that. Once inside the ballpark, we laid out a blanket on the grassy hillside and gawked at the many young Mormon families surrounding us. One of my roommates said, “I can’t remember the last time I was at a concert where there were toddlers!”

We waited 41 minutes for foot-long corn dogs and paid $3 per bottle of water, which too was difficult to find. But what was so special was the music of fabulous artists and the words of love and encouragement from special guests including Carol Lynn Pearson, Troy Williams and Sara Jade Woodhouse, as well as several rosy-cheeked concertgoers.

Imagine Dragons’ Dan Reynolds said prior to the fest, “I want LoveLoud to engage a passionate and supportive audience in the fight against teen suicide and to bring communities together to start a conversation that focuses on recognizing individuality.”

I personally believe that was accomplished. Now, this may seem contradictory but I want to share part of a Facebook post from a seemingly disgruntled woman.

LOVELOUD Festival = male privilege incarnate & made my stomach churn

Dan Reynolds & Tyler Glenn both have left the Mormon Church. Tyler made an album about how horrible it is (including a video of him spitting on Joseph Smith, tearing up his temple garments etc.). And, yet… the Mormon leadership overlooks all that to promote their concert in Orem. Probably for many reasons (good PR, makes Mormons feel like the institution ISN’T the actual source of the suicide epidemic for Utah children, which obviously it is). At the end of the day, they are queer (at least Tyler is), but they are still men. THAT the Mormon leadership can work with.

It’ll be a cold day in outer darkness when the Mormon church sponsors anything with prominent feminists who have openly decried their rampant misogyny. Again, for many reasons, but probably at the top of the list: most feminists wouldn’t get on a stage & sing kumbaya (or the Mormon version “walk with you”) with the root source of oppression.

At the end of the day, events like this help the Mormons (both church leadership & everyday adherents) teflon-off accountability.

Most of the people in that crowd will continue to “decry the sin” of homosexuality TOMORROW. In church. In front of children. So, nope. Doesn’t make me feel better about things. Makes me feel worse, actually.

They are awkwardly shimmying off-beat tonight at Mormonapolooza & tomorrow they’ll be back in the pews self-righteously making queer kids want to literally die. Because they think it’s God’s will. They have convinced themselves their cruelty is actually kindness. And, tonight further entrenched that because now it’s got a catchy back beat. And now they proved to themselves they aren’t bigots. Their homophobia is now cloaked in hip-ness.

I’ll admit I’m a privileged gay male incarnate, but whoa Nelly! The event was about camaraderie, openness and visibility, and though not all hearts and minds obviously changed overnight, I have to believe it was a step in the right direction.

 

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Tony Hobday

Tony Hobday

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