We were honored to be invited to the LOVELOUD Music Festival in Salt Lake City, Utah. Never being to Utah before, we had no idea what to expect from the festival, the city, or the state. What did we think of LOVELOUD 2018? Here's some of my thoughts in video form.
I gave kudos to AT&T for donating the $1 Million to the LOVELOUD Festival and all of the causes the concert and weekend supports. Some people when I mentioned AT&T sponsoring such a music festival jumped to the question, "Is this pink washing?" This is where a corporation buys our attention with flashy colorful and supportive ads wanting us to move over to their side because they are waving a rainbow flag for 29.5 days during PRIDE month while not supporting other LGBTQ+ causes throughout the year and not supporting LGBTQ+ employees. Would this be the case with AT&T?
Before I went to LOVELOUD, I asked to meet with AT&T VP of Advertising and Creative Services, Valerie Vargas, and asked her that pink washing question. Instead of utilizing our banal term pink washing, she mentioned the phrase rainbow consumerism. She said she was aware of that practice by other companies, but AT&T had a vibrant and honest history of supporting and protecting the LGBTQ+ community.
AT&T was one of the first corporations in the country to adopt a policy prohibiting discrimination against employees based on sexual orientation. That was in 1975. Most states have not even accomplished that over 40 years later. Valerie hit on the other important LGBTQ+ / AT&T historical milestones that are also mentioned in this video.
I talked to Valerie about my own personal history with AT&T and hen asked her what's next for the company! More music venues or more changes in policies and practices? After she told me what was next, we came up with a quick little catch phrase for some AT&T employees in the near future - Trevor Trained. AT&T is not just honestly supporting the rainbow, they're committed in helping. Valerie stated AT&T had recently started a support and crisis program and already has a waiting list of employees desiring to be trained the same way that The Trevor Project workers are trained, to handle those tough calls from people that need help. My grin was quite large when I heard that AT&T was looking at ways to help our community, ways that will take time, more time than it takes to write a check. Keep up the good work AT&T. We need more corporations to step forward and not just do these things, but also tell the world they are doing these things. AT&T has a large,far, and influential reach.
The AT&T support was evident everywhere, not just the signage, but the members of their corporation that were present.
Not to say they were outdone, but as mentioned in my vide above, the presence of Tim Cook shook! For me at least, his being there and his speech were major highlights of the festival. Here are Tim's words.
Over all, the concert was deemed a success. There have been instances of complaints that the University of Utah was not structured to accommodate people in wheelchairs, the bathrooms were all not gender inclusive, and some trans attendees were confronted and misgendered. I was there, I saw that not all of the bathrooms were transgender, but there were some all-inclusive bathrooms as well as family bathrooms. The elevators were just aas hard to find as the free water filling stations (it was so hot!), but once you found them, you knew where they were.
Dan Reynolds had this to say about the day.
My time in Utah was one to remember. I'll talk more about the rest of my visit in Salt Lake City in a future Travel Thursday piece.
Going back to the beginning of the day, I was able to ask the last question of the panel discussion. My question was, if you could ask anything of the media, since you have several LGBTQ+ and other outlets present, what would you ask the media to do to help your cause?
They all came together and stated the same thing ... make us be seen, allow us to be seen, assist LGBTQ+ performers and fellow citizens in being visible to the world. We are everywhere, we are doing great things, we are great members of society, and we are great talents. We exist. Don't just report the bad things, but show that we are good, talented, and dedicated citizens.
So, at the very end of this lengthy coverage, I will share the very up close, wowtastic, and shirtless videos and pictures of Dan Reynolds and Imagine Dragons (my camera wasn't the only thing that overheated as he took the stage), but before that, I want to share videos and pictures I took of the event with my new trusty camera, videos of fellow LGBTQ+ citizens performing for a good cause, our cause, society's cause (you can watch the whole concert here). As promised here's Kalen Allen's Blue Carpet interview followed by other performers and attendees.
VINCINT X PARSONS
TYLER GLENN - I seriously need to download more of his music!
KALEN ALLEN - in his Beyonce moment.
MIKE SHINODA - Ghosts
MARY LAMBERT - a smooth rendition of "Jessie's Girl"
WRABEL - THE VILLAGE - one of my favorite songs of all time.
THIS IS ME - You can hear me talking to the proud dad of one of the singers as he stood behind me.
MALE DANCERS - A very moving performance.
and now .... IMAGINE DRAGONS!