Taylor Swift reba McEntire
Reba McEntire denies rumours about feud with Taylor Swift. Image: Supplied

Home » Taylor Swift mania strikes Australia

Taylor Swift mania strikes Australia

Taylor Swift or – Swifties – came out in their numbers to fill up Melbourne Cricket Ground for her two-year ‘Eras’ tour.

16-02-24 17:28
Taylor Swift reba McEntire
Reba McEntire denies rumours about feud with Taylor Swift. Image: Supplied

Thousands of die-hard Taylor Swift fans flocked to the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Friday, snapping up bagfuls of merchandise hours before the first Australian date of her money-raking, two-year-long ‘Eras’ tour.

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The 34-year-old megastar kicks off seven Australia shows on Friday, with three stadium gigs in Melbourne, before heading to Sydney for four more sell-out dates.

“The Eras Tour”, which takes fans through the Swift discography, is the highest-grossing musical tour of all time, netting about $1 billion in ticket sales, according to Pollstar, a trade publication.

“The main thing that got me into her was probably the lyrics and how I can relate them to so many different situations,” said 21-year-old Australian fan Kendra Harris, who has been waiting months to see her hero in the flesh.

“I also love how she’s so communicative with fans. She posts a lot of things on her social media and will comment on people’s TikToks, so it feels like she truly knows you,” Harris added.

“I know she used to invite fans to her house to listen to the album early, so I feel like doing things like that just shows how much she cares.”

With many fans coming from overseas or other states and tickets hard to come by, hotel groups are offering ticket-and-lodging packages that run into the thousands of dollars.

Australia’s consumer protection agency has warned that hundreds of fans have been scammed into buying fake tickets, with losses estimated to be in the tens of thousands of dollars.

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Fans were gearing up for the concerts by creating Swift-themed friendship bracelets, preparing outfits and learning “fan chants” to belt out during performances.

Bead kits have reportedly sold out in some Melbourne and Sydney stores, as fans have rushed to make the bracelets, which are traded before shows.

“I’ve made like six or seven, but I would like to make a few more before the concert… You trade them with people and I think people just give them if you don’t have any,” Harris said.

Many concert outfits will be inspired by Swift’s self-described “Eras”, her transformation through a range of musical genres, from country to pop.

Following last year’s re-release of her album “1989”, Swift has made around $500 million from streaming royalties and music purchases, according to Billboard.

Much to fans’ delight, Swift, whose hits include “Shake It Off”, “Blank Space” and “You Need to Calm Down”, also performs an acoustic set on piano and guitar featuring two surprise songs not on the official setlist.

Promotion for the tour has been as carefully choreographed as the performance on stage, and helped by Swift recently scooping her fourth “Album of the Year” prize at the Grammys, followed by a much-hyped appearance at the Super Bowl, where she cheered on boyfriend Travis Kelce of the winning Kansas City Chiefs.

The power of Taylor Swift has even seeped into academia, with the University of Melbourne holding a “Swiftposium” to discuss her influence across a range of disciplines.

“Fans view her a lot more as the friend-next-door than they do as a billionaire superpower, which is the reality of what she is,” sociologist Georgia Carroll told the gathering.

By Garrin Lambley © Agence France-Presse