PREVIEW: Justin Utley, singer – songwriter – activist

Besi Besemar February 16, 2015

Justin Utley, the gay ex-Mormon turned LGBT activist and singer-songwriter, has announced he will be performing a gig in Brighton during his UK tour this year.

Justin Utley
Justin Utley

HIS gig will take place at 7 p.m. on Sunday, March 15 at the Rialto Theatre, Dyke Road, Brighton (just by Churchill Square). Advance Tickets cost £8 (£10 on the door).

As a gesture of support for the local Brighton LGBT music community, Justin has pledged that a substantial amount from ticket sales will be donated to the Hand In Hand National UK/ Ireland LGBT Choral Festival taking place in the city in the summer.

Adam Betteridge, organiser of Justin’s gig and trustee for Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus, also arranged a gig for fellow-US singer Matt Alber during Brighton Pride last Summer.

Adam said: “We’re really excited that Justin has agreed to come to perform for us here in Brighton as part of his UK tour. After the success of Matt Alber’s gig last year, it seems there is genuine interest in hearing performers from the emerging LGBT music scene both here and internationally. It’s a real testament to Justin’s active support for the LGBT music scene that he should pledge as much as half of sales to the Hand In Hand Festival.”

Over 15 LGBT choirs from across the nation have already signed up for the Hand In Hand festival, which will take place from June 12-14 this year, and will be helping raise funds for various local charities including the Sussex Beacon and Lunch Positive. The festival will culminate in a joint public show at Brighton Dome on Saturday, June 13.

The Co-Chairs for the Hand In Hand Festival in Brighton, Paul Charlton (Chairman of Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus), and Finola Brophy (Chair of Rainbow Chorus), said: “We are tremendously excited about the Hand In Hand Festival, one of the largest LGBT choral events to take place in the UK and Ireland to date. We are also extremely appreciative to Justin for having agreed to donate such a large proportion of the takings from his gig in support of this cause. As you can imagine, putting together such a large and prestigious festival is a costly affair, and it’s donations such as these that will help make a real difference to its overall success.”

Born and raised in Utah, Justin Utley began his career as a Mormon-Contemporary singer-songwriter and was a featured performer at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

After publicly breaking ties with the Mormon Church and sending his own “self-excommunication letter”, Justin became a noted activist and advocate for civil rights and LGBT equality in the United States and an outspoken personality against the Mormon church’s use of ex-gay conversion therapy, a method Utley endured for two years after serving a two-year full-time mission for the church.

In June 2010, Utley released Stand for Something, a single written to inspire and motivate people to take action towards securing LGBT equality in the United States. The single was nominated by the LGBT Academy Of Recording Arts for 4 OutMusic Awards, including Best Songwriter and Artist of the Year, winning Best Country/Folk Song of the Year.

Justin has gained many accolades in a short time, including being a headlining performer at Pride Festivals worldwide, including Stockholm, New York, Los Angeles, Denver, Atlanta, San Diego and Las Vegas and opening for international acts such as Icona Pop, Tegan and Sara, and Margaret Cho. He has been a contributor for CNN’s Faces Of Faith Sunday News segment, and testified in the first ever hearing on LGBTQ job and housing discrimination in front of the Utah State Senate.

Event: Justin Utley, singer – songwriter – activist

Where: Rialto Theatre, 11 Dyke Road, Brighton BN1 3FE

When: Sunday, March 15

Time: Doors open 6.30 p.m. for 7 p.m. start

Cost: Tickets £8 in advance, £10 on the door.

To purchase online, click here:

For more information about Justin, click here:

For more information about the Hand in Hand Festival, click here: