This time around, she’s upgraded to two nights at Paycor Stadium, each of which could set attendance records. Swift has regularly hit more than 70,000 fans per night during her Eras Tour, and already broke the records for single-event attendance in Pittsburgh and Nashville.
Hotel prices are up: Some rooms in Cincinnati that aren’t fully booked for the weekend are listed at more than $1,000 a night, a similar price to other stops along the tour. The show even led the Cincinnati Reds to move the June 30 baseball game start time up two hours, from 7:10 p.m. to 5:10 p.m.
According to fortune.com, the Eras Tour could generate up to $4.6 billion in consumer spending throughout the U.S. The Cincinnati Regional Chamber and Visit Cincy are expecting a $92 million impact in southwest Ohio alone.
That’s right, $92 million.
Jennifer Clark is the chief operating officer and vice president of Laura’s Cookies, a baking company based in Dayton that sells its products in Dorothy Lane Products. When the owner fulfilled a custom order of Eras-themed cookies and posted them on Facebook, requests skyrocketed.
“The only other time we’ve received anything like this was when the Brood X cicadas were out and we were doing cicada cookies,” Clark said.
The bakery is only doing the Eras cookies through special orders, which the company asks for three to four days of notice on. After the Facebook post, the company received private messages, social media comments and orders requesting the cookies. Clark says the Dorothy Lane stores have been getting calls asking for them, as well.
Other companies such as Petals & Wicks in Hamilton and You’re Fired in Oxford have hosted tie-in events already. The two businesses paired up for the “ultimate Swiftie night” June 24, inviting local fans to dress up as their favorite Taylor Swift era while making candles and clay friendship bracelets for the concert.
During her marathon 3-plus-hour setlist, Swift will perform songs from each of her 10 albums from her genre-spanning career.
From expecting mothers to lifelong friends and parents and their children, folks in Dayton, Hamilton and Springfield “Swifties” are ready to see the icon live after countless hours spent on Ticketmaster, preparing friendship bracelets and outfits, coordinating hotels and car rides, and of course, listening to Taylor Swift.
‘Never Grow Up’
Carla Getter has been waiting to see Taylor Swift with her son, Gabe, since 2018. Five years ago, the pair from Middletown were set to attend her Reputation tour in Columbus, Ohio. As the concert date approached, though, Carla was diagnosed with hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), a connective tissue disorder that attacks the joints.
“My spinal cord tried to sever, and it was one of those things that they had to do emergency surgery or I wouldn’t be able to walk by the next day,” Carla said.
Carla missed the concert, and Gabe ended up going with his grandmother. One year later, Carla had surgery again, and now she has 34 screws in her back. Gabe is graduating college next year, and while he’s working at an internship in New York City this summer, Carla said this concert feels like one of the last opportunities for them to do something big together before he moves away.
When “Speak Now” came out in 2010, Carla remembers playing “Never Grow Up” for Gabe. It’s a song sung from the perspective of a parent to their child, wanting them to stay young and remember their childhood.
“He’s getting to this point where he’s moving on,” Carla said. “He’s out of the house this summer, and that song is coming true. It’s coming full circle.”
Swift is playing two surprise acoustic songs per concert for the duration of her tour. For Carla and Gabe, who are going to the July 1 concert, it would be the perfect song to sum up nearly two decades of listening to the singer together.
Tickets for the tour went on sale Nov. 15 for verified fans on Ticketmaster. Demand was so high that many fans spent all day in the queue and tickets sold out before the general sale. The event led to a U.S. Senate hearing on the website’s monopolistic practices.
But for Gabe, who bought the tickets for himself and his mom, the day went off without issue, and he got his tickets within minutes of signing on.
“It wasn’t until right after I had got [the tickets] that I saw that Ticketmaster had started crashing for people,” Gabe said. “It was perfectly fine ... I made it through the entire thing without Ticketmaster having any problems.”
Carla says he was checking out within 10 minutes of the sale opening. When he told her the price - $754 - she nearly fainted. Still, it felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“I don’t get to go anywhere much. I have 34 screws in my spine, so over the last five years we’ve been dealing with all of that, and I’m like, ‘I don’t care,’” Carla said. “Even if I’m feeling horrible, I am going to that concert with him. I love Taylor Swift that much. He and I both have such a deep love and passion for her, and it’s like a connection for me and him. So I’m like, ‘We’re going ... I’ll make it work. Just hit enter.’”
‘The Great War’
Stacy Kenney, a Huber Heights resident, had a drastically different ticket-buying experience.
“I’ve bought a lot of concert tickets for people who are hard to get concert tickets for like Justin Timberlake, Elton John, Jonas Brothers, stuff like that,” Kenney said. “And this was by far the worst experience I’ve ever had trying to get a ticket, and ... I’ve gone to three other Taylor Swift concerts.”
When Kenney didn’t manage to get tickets during the verified fans sale or the Capital One sale after hours of waiting, she turned to Facebook.
“I probably interacted with four or five people, and every single time I could tell, ‘Okay, this person is scamming me ... I’m not going to buy them,” Kenney said.
Scammers who sell fake tickets online often refuse to sell through PayPal Goods and Services, which offers more protection for transactions. To further verify the tickets she was trying to buy, Kenney asked for screen-captured videos of the tickets in the sellers’ emails with timestamps.
Eventually, Kenney found a post from a college student selling tickets at-price because she was unable to go. When the seller agreed to use PayPal Goods and Services, sent pictures and video of the tickets, added Kenney on Facebook and sent her her phone number, Kenney knew she was legitimate.
“So now all four of us are going,” Kenney said. “We are not all sitting together, but it works out really cool because ... we’re in the exact same section and our tickets are literally four rows apart. So we’re not going to be together, but we can look at each other.”
Kenney has four children, including a newborn, at home. This concert will be the longest she’s gone without seeing her baby, who she’s only ever left for a couple hours at a time.
“My husband, in a very kind way, he’s actually bringing the baby, coming to Cincinnati with me, staying in a hotel so that the baby is only 20 minutes away from me and not an hour and 20,” Kenney said. “So he’s sacrificing, because he certainly doesn’t want to go sit in a hotel room all day, but this matters to me.”
‘Welcome to New York’
The day Swift announced her tour dates, Bree O’Day, of Lebanon, booked a hotel room for her and her friends.
“We are just kind of making a girls’ night of it,” O’Day said. “We’re planning to DoorDash foods so that we don’t have to deal with finding a place to eat and we have a nice little list of food to choose from for our big night.”
O’Day and her friends are split on their approaches to the concert. While plenty of Swifties have been inundated with TikTok videos of the show night after night for months, others are trying to avoid any spoilers. O’Day herself falls into the latter camp, scrolling away on every tour-related clip that pops up. One of her friends, meanwhile, has the entire 44-song setlist committed to memory.
Beyond booking the hotel rooms and staying away from spoilers, O’Day has been busy making friendship bracelets and “glitterizing” her shoes for the show. Her five-year-old son, a Swiftie in training, has been helping with the bracelets, and he made one for himself that says “22,” his favorite song.
While O’Day’s son isn’t going to the concert, he is a “1989″ fan just like his mom.
“He also loves the song ‘Welcome to New York,’” O’Day said, “and he won’t let me listen to it until I will take him to New York.”
Their trip to the Big Apple is set for October.
‘Cowboy Like Me’
Springfield resident Maggie Bowen remembers sitting next to her mom’s alarm clock radio as a 6-year-old the first time she heard “Tim McGraw,” a song from Swift’s debut album.
“I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is so good,’” Bowen said. “As if I’ve experienced heartbreak. Like, I’m 6 years old. Ever since then, it’s been like a disease.”
That year, Bowen got Swift’s debut album for her birthday, and she’s been talking about the artist to anyone who will listen. The Eras Tour will be her first time seeing the star live.
Bowen got seats on the floor with two friends through the Capital One presale. One of her friends, Dayton tattoo artist Hayley Petkus, who has done three Taylor-themed tattoos for Bowen herself.
Bowen’s tattoos include lyrics surrounded by flowers, a girl sitting in a purple cloud to represent the song “Lavender Haze” off of Swift’s most recent album, “Midnights,” and a portrait of Swift as a cowgirl with “Cowboy Like Me” lyrics under it.
“I didn’t say I wanted it to look like Taylor,” Bowen said. “I said maybe kind of, but I was just thinking like a little cowgirl in an old-timey portrait ... and then I went into the appointment, and Hayley was like, ‘I know you said you didn’t want it to necessarily look like Taylor, but look at what I drew.’”
While Bowen said she may regret the decision one day if Swift has a fall from grace, she really likes the tattoo for now.
Kenzie McEvily, an Oakwood resident, is bringing a special guest with her to the June 30 concert, and this tiny attendee doesn’t have to pay for a ticket.
“I’m going to be going to this concert [33 weeks] pregnant with my first baby, so it’s kind of like another monumental moment ... It’s like the next generation is being introduced to it,” McEvily said. “Obviously not in person, but to tell my daughter that her first concert was Taylor Swift is going to be pretty cool.”
McEvily is also going with two of her high school best friends. One of them is a nurse practitioner, so she’ll be “on call” during the concert in case McEvily has any issues. The three of them all grew up listening to Taylor Swift together, and McEvily remembers being inspired by her during every era since her debut album.
“I did my hair like her,” McEvily said. “My top MySpace song was ‘Tim McGraw.’ And then when ‘Fearless’ came out, everything reminds you of your high school loves and your relationships, and so at every stage of every era, her lyrics have hit and resonated with every stage of my life, too.”
McEvily is going to the concert prepared with comfortable shoes, plenty of water, a goodie bag, earplugs and a “Lover”-era outfit she’s been crafting for months.
While some fans are avoiding spoilers, McEvily can’t get enough Taylor Swift content. She follows along with the many real and perceived Easter Eggs Swifties look for in music videos, concerts and other content to point to new projects from the artist.
“It gets a little time consuming, but that’s what makes it so fun, because she never stops,” McEvily said. “It just seems like she’s such a mastermind with all of that ... Taylor is just the number one artist of our generation. We’re never gonna get another Taylor Swift.”
Swift by the numbers
33: The performer’s age
11: No. 1 albums, including “1989″ and “Fearless” for 11 weeks each
10 billion: Streams on Spotify so far in 2023
9: No. 1 songs, including “Anti-Hero” for 8 weeks
Swift was the first artist to simultaneously occupy the Top 10 spots on the Billboard Hot 100
The Ohio Attorney General is warning fans to be skeptical of “too good to be true” offers and provided these tips:
- Buy from reputable businesses rather than individuals
- Avoid using difficult to trace payment methods like gift cards and cryptocurrency
- Research the seller before agreeing to purchase
- Try to pay with a credit card, which offers greater protection