Unless you live under a rock, in a bunker cut off from internet or cell service, buried deep within the ground so close to the Earth’s surface that you’re in danger of melting, you’ve likely heard that Taylor Swift is on tour this summer. And the whole getting-a-ticket thing has been, well, kind of a shit show.
It’s been especially painful for DC-area fans, who have had to deal with the struggle of securing tickets while also suffering the annoyance of Swift skipping the region on her Eras tour.
Which means that this weekend, a ton of DC Swifties are descending on the closest tour stop: Philadelphia, where Swift will perform at Lincoln Financial Field on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night. It seems it’s going to be a busy stretch. Take a peek at Amtrak trains heading from DC’s Union Station to Philly over the weekend, and many of the coach tickets are already sold out. Meanwhile, nosebleed seats behind the stage are starting at north of $1,000 on StubHub. (No, that price does not include a high-altitude oxygen mask or binoculars.)
Emily Peterson is one of the lucky Washingtonians to snag a Philly ticket. The 23-year-old, who lives in Alexandria and works in marketing, is known as the Swiftie in her friend group. “It’s definitely a personality trait of mine,” she says. She’s loved TayTay since she was eight years old and heard “Teardrops on My Guitar” for the first time, and her first-ever concert was Swift’s Speak Now tour stop at the then-Verizon Center. “It’s one of the core memories of my life so far.”
“That was a tough one,” Peterson says of learning that there wouldn’t be a local stop on the Eras tour. “[But] I was willing to travel wherever I needed to go.” She ultimately set her sights on the closest destination, Philadelphia, and booked a hotel for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night before she even got tickets. And that process wasn’t by any means easy—she was considered “preferred access” since she originally had tickets to Swift’s Covid-cancelled Lover Fest tour, but she still sat in the online queue for four and a half hours before snagging nosebleeds.
Olivia Troye had a similar experience. The 46-year-old, who lives in Alexandria and is the co-founder of the PAC Mission Democracy (she’s also a former Mike Pence advisor who made headlines after resigning in 2020 and criticizing Trump), has been to every single one of Swift’s tours with her husband and her best friend. She’s such a fan, she apparently was reprimanded for playing Swift in the Trump White House.
When the Eras tour was announced, Troye immediately booked hotel rooms in four of the cities. She originally sat online for eight hours to get Eras tickets, but didn’t land any. “I was devastated,” she says. Thankfully, more tickets opened up for Philly, but she could only get two—meaning she had to make a gut-wrenching choice and decide between her husband and BFF. “It has been heartbreaking,” she says of making the decision. “It’s even funnier because I’m in my forties.” (The husband won out.)
Troye knows how lucky she is to have tickets, and feels awful for her friends who are huge fans or have Swiftie kids and understandably don’t want to spring thousands of dollars for resale seats. She’s planning to drive up for the Friday show, and some of her friends are feverishly texting to see if she can take their kids to Philly if they’re able to swing last-minute tickets. “Everyone’s sort of planning the DC carpool,” Troye says.
Alanna Goldman gets it, too. While she has tickets, the 25-year-old consultant who lives off U Street is carpooling back from Philadelphia with two friends who weren’t able to get passes. They’re heading up to Philly in hopes they can either snag some tickets or just tailgate in the stadium parking lot and listen to the music from afar.
Swifties have always been exceedingly fervent fans, but it does seem like the hype is larger than usual around this tour. This is likely due in part to the difficulty of getting tickets and the fact that it’s been five years since Swift’s previous round of concerts, during which she’s released multiple albums. But Goldman also attributes part of the mania to TikTok, which has grown exponentially in the time since Swift last toured in 2018. After each show, fans are immediately posting their outfits and reactions to Swift’s performance online, upping the fervor. ”It’s created a frenzy in a way that is good for artists but hard for fans to keep up,” says Goldman.
Dominique Christianson knows the feeling. “I don’t know how much of this is me not wanting to miss out on this tour because it’s been five years since I last saw her, or how much of this is I’m getting swept up into the Twitter, TikTok fever of it all,” says the 38-year-old attorney. “It’s this fear of missing out on this zeitgeist-y type moment.”
When Christianson and I originally talked, the Brookland resident didn’t have tickets to the Philly show and everything was not okay. “It’s kind of crazy. Like, I have a full time job. I have a family. But here I am falling down this black hole of, like, Facebook groups on how to get tickets.” She was planning to head to Philadelphia sans tickets and pray to the pop star powers that be for a reasonable ticket on StubHub.
But she was also dealing with a bigger question, one all Eras tour attendees have to battle with: What will she wear? Anyone who’s recently been on SwifieTok knows the outfit is essential. While Christianson is leaning toward a sequin jumpsuit, Peterson is wearing a replica of the “Not a lot going on at the moment” shirt Swift wore in her “22” music video, bejeweled tennis shoes, heart-shaped glasses, and Swift-themed friendship bracelets she’s making for herself and friends. Meanwhile, Goldman is opting for a silver sparkly dress and knee-high boots, while Troye is planning to sport something with rainbow sequins. (She also got a rainbow sequin shirt for her husband).
Back to Christianson, though. Right before publication, I got a Twitter DM from her. Plot twist: She was able to snag tickets to Swift’s New Jersey show, so she won’t be going to Philly after all. Sure, it’s a last-minute pivot, but who cares! She has tickets! And that in itself is a rarity, and something to take advantage of—a fact any ticketless Swift fan knows, ahem, All Too Well.