SALT LAKE CITY — Apple CEO Tim Cook will take the stage at the LoveLoud music festival on Saturday, joining other musical acts and speakers, festival organizers announced Wednesday.
Additional performers and speakers include singer/dancer/actress Julianne Hough, Tegan Quin of pop band Tegan and Sara, Alfonso Ribeiro (“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”) and Olympic freeskiing silver medalist Gus Kenworthy, among others.
These new guests will join Imagine Dragons, Tyler Glenn, Zedd, Mike Shinoda, Grace Vanderwaal, host Cameron Esposito and others at the event, now in its second year.
This year’s festival will also be livestreamed on AT&T’s Twitter account. AT&T will donate $1 for every tweet that uses the #loveloud hashtag, up to $50,000.
Imagine Dragons lead singer Dan Reynolds launched the festival and its accompanying foundation in 2017, to “ignite conversation about what it means to unconditionally love, understand, accept and support our LGBTQ+ communities,” according to its Facebook page.
Utahns received LoveLoud warmly last year and drew support for its effort to build acceptance and fight the scourge of suicide, a growing state and national problem, particularly among youths. The inaugural event drew more than 17,000 attendees and raised approximately $100,000 — and due to Reynold's fame inside and outside Utah, national news and media coverage soon followed.
Event organizers have set LoveLoud's sights even higher this year, setting a $1 million fundraising goal and expanding the number of benefitting charities to 18. It has also expanded its seating capacity, moving from Brent Brown Ballpark in Orem to the University of Utah's Rice-Eccles Stadium. Reynolds recently said this year’s event has sold approximately 30,000 tickets so far.
Lance Lowry, the LoveLoud Foundation’s executive director, told the Deseret News that last year’s festival faced numerous obstacles, including sponsorships. Many local companies, he said, were hesitant to associate themselves with LGBTQ issues. This year, by contrast, Lowry said many Utah companies offered sponsorships and support for LoveLoud.
“That first year was pretty difficult,” Lowry said. “For a lot of people, it was their first time being part of these types of conversations, which is hard for people. But we were persistent and ambitious while also being patient.”
Adding Cook to this year's speakers lineup will doubtless raise the event's profile. Cook, who has become an increasingly outspoken gay rights activist since he came out as gay in 2014, will be one of the festival's featured speakers and will also introduce Imagine Dragons.
“Tim Cook joining us in Utah for LoveLoud sends a clear message to LGBTQ youth that they have unlimited potential to achieve their dreams,” Reynolds said in Wednesday's news release. “Tim is an unwavering advocate for human rights and equality, and we’re thrilled he’ll be joining our powerful lineup of speakers and performers.”
Additionally, the recent HBO documentary “Believer,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, also helped raised LoveLoud’s national profile. “Believer” follows Reynolds as he organized and launched LoveLoud and examines his relationship to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“Believer” also captured how closely the issue hits home for Lowry: A month before last year’s festival, Lowry’s younger brother, Landon, died by suicide.
“So for me, it’s very vindicating and validating to know that all the struggles we went through have been able to hopefully give a voice to people like my brother Landon, as well as the countless others who are losing their lives,” Lowry said. “And one of our big goals is to ensure that no other mothers have to feel the way that my mother felt.”
“It’s pretty hard to disagree with the need here,” Lowry continued. “Regardless of what people feel the solution is, it’s been near impossible to ignore that we need to find a solution, which is what we’re trying to do.”
LoveLoud 2018's scheduled performers are listed below:
- Alexia Meyer
- Alfonso Ribeiro
- Ash from Encircle
- Benji Schwimmer
- Blair Imani
- Brooklyn Fullmer
- Carmen Carrera
- Chelsie Hightower
- Dana Goldberg
- Dan Reynolds
- Drew Scott
- Gus Kenworthy
- Heather Morris
- Jaxon Willard
- Jaymz Tuaileva
- Jonathan and Oksana Platero
- Julianne Hough
- Jussie Smollett
- Justin Tranter
- Kalen Allen
- Lt. Governor of Utah Spencer Cox
- Kathy Tu
- Malece Miller
- Mary Lambert
- Parson James
- Steve and Barb Young
- Tegan Quin
- Tim Cook
- Tobin Low
- Westminster Slam
If you go …
What: LoveLoud 2018
When: Saturday, July 28, 3:30 p.m.
Where: Rice-Eccles Stadium, 451 S. 1400 East
How much: $29.50-$99.50
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Lance Lowry's brother, Landon Lowry, was a member of Utah's LGBTQ community.