Taylor Swift’s ticket-less fans are partying in the parking lot & ‘Taylor-gating’

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Would you pay thousands of dollars to see your favorite singer? That’s the question facing legions of Taylor Swift fans because Ticketmaster screwed up ticket sales for her Eras tour so badly, and then resellers immediately price-gouged the available supply. Instead of shelling out for tickets, many Swifties are choosing to tailgate in the parking lot at her concerts and sing along from outside the arena. They even have a cute name for it: Taylor-gating. The Today show covered this recently.

A​​s Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour continues around the country, fans aren’t letting Ticketmaster get in the way of catching a glimpse at the sold-out shows.

Swifties are taking over streets and parking lots near the Eras Tour venues to sing along to their favorite songs without having to enter the stadiums — an act that fans have deemed “Taylor-gating.”

“I’m sure Taylor heard double the voices she was expecting because we were all out there singing even though we weren’t inside,” Michaela Hogan, a fan who attended one of Swift’s Nashville concerts from a parking lot, said on a TODAY segment that aired May 19.

The growing trend gives fans who didn’t score a seat to the 52-night tour a chance to hear Swift’s songs after a bungled ticketing process from Ticketmaster late last year.

But fans aren’t letting their lack of tickets stop them from crisscrossing the country to be near the concert venues. Officials in Glendale, Arizona, where Swift started the tour, said tourism traffic rivaled turnout for the Super Bowl.

“I wanna cry, I wanna throw up, and I wanna pass out,” said one fan of the atmosphere at a Philadelphia Taylor-gate.

Fans are bringing snacks, drinks and even air mattresses to their tailgates, which is costing them much less than the tickets being sold for thousands of dollars on ticket resale sites.

[From Today]

With a megastar like Taylor Swift, the demand for tickets is going to be sky high, and for every person who got a ticket there are probably twenty people who missed out. I’m glad the Swifties are having fun out there in the parking lots. Often the best part of a concert is that feeling of community and connection with other fans, so I’m happy the Taylor-gaters are experiencing that. It is significantly cheaper than the concert tickets themselves–one man paid $21,000 for tickets for his daughter and her friends after his first purchase was suspiciously canceled by a reseller. I hope that wasn’t his daughter’s college money, my God.

This story made me think about how different concert-going was even fifteen years ago. When I was in high school, my dad surprised me with tickets to see U2 at the Rose Bowl. Our seats were good but not great, and I think they cost him $350 each. That’s expensive, but not as eye-watering as Taylor’s tickets. Dad and I also tailgated for nine hours before the show because parking at the Rose Bowl is insane. It was a long, exhausting day. But it was special to experience the show with my dad and U2 played for over three hours. It felt worth the hassle and the cost.

This was over fifteen years ago and since then, concerts have only become more expensive and difficult. It makes me wish that the federal government would turn the screws on Ticketmaster and break up their monopoly. I know that artists have some control over ticket prices, so I’m guessing that Taylor probably set her base prices higher to curb overwhelming demand. It is her first tour in five years. But the mystery “service fees”, the Ticketmaster website meltdowns, and the price-gouging from resellers are not on Taylor. All of it points to a broken system that prioritizes corporate profits over everything else. I would love it if Taylor used her great talent for scheming and one-upping her enemies, and created her own ticket-selling platform to compete with Ticketmaster. Call it…Snaketix? Swiftix? I wouldn’t put it past her.

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28 Responses to “Taylor Swift’s ticket-less fans are partying in the parking lot & ‘Taylor-gating’”

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  1. StellainNH says:

    Taylor paralyzed highways all around Foxboro, Massachusetts for three days. The Boston roads turned into parking lots. I feel bad for anyone who lives in that area.

    • CROWHOOD says:

      It seemed like it was insane! My colleague lives within a few blocks so he was basically hunkered down like it was a winter storm starting Thursday. We had a call with him on Friday midday and it sounded like he was in the middle of an NFL game and the concert hadn’t even started. And again, several BLOCKS away!

      • StellainNH says:

        Friday was a perfect storm—Taylor Swift, Celtics playoff game, and Janet Jackson.

    • Jen says:

      I forgot there was a concert and got stuck in traffic outside Gillette last night when it let out. It took almost two hours to go a couple miles. It was maddening and there’s no way to escape it once you’re caught in it.

      However, it was the nicest crowd I’ve ever seen. Thousands of them walk down Route 1 to parking lots and hotels after. I’ve seen a lot of rowdy, rude, drunk crowds after concerts and sporting events over the years. Her fans seemed so happy, dressed up in fun sequined clothes and cowboy boots, singing and smiling.

    • Anonymous says:

      @stellainnnh I was in RI had a family commitment up north and could not get there bc of traffic. Not only that, but Foxboro & Gillette prohibited Taylor-gating!!! WTF:


      My niece and her mom tried to get into the area and were thrown out.

  2. Delphine says:

    In the late 80s and early 90s before the internet we all waited in line outside of Wherehouse or Tower Records or wherever for wristbands to buy tickets, meaning first come first serve. It was more like a lottery after getting the wristband and you could end up with tickets relatively near the front. Or not. Kind of luck of the draw. Including fees they would still be under $40. There were scalpers but they weren’t as sophisticated and while some shows sold out quickly it was still way more fair and egalitarian. Now it’s a total monopoly and they use surge pricing just like Uber. Tickets are completely out of reach for the average person. Absolutely Congress should break up the Live Nation/Ticketmaster monopoly. These prices are beyond just inflated, this is straight up gauging.

    • smegmoria says:

      I know. It was always like $25, $30. Wait outside the department store that sold them, and that was that.

  3. ML says:

    21 THOUSAND dollars for concert tickets is quite literally insane. Not to be judgy, but there is no way I would pay that if I had that money. Welcome to lessons in disappointment.

  4. OldLady says:

    Robert Smith seems to be the only person willing to take on Ticketmaster and that’s just one of the reasons I love him.

    • Delphine says:

      Same! I adore him

    • a says:

      I’m very excited that I was able to get tickets to see The Cure…and a refund of fees. My club level tickets were $75 each, which I consider reasonable. (Cheap seats were $50.) Especially for Chicago.

  5. Delphine says:

    Just for perspective $40 in 1990 would be worth about $93 today.

  6. Soni says:

    Eddie Vedder railed against Ticketmaster decades ago but nobody listened. I wish we did. I went to tons of concerts in high school and don’t remember ever paying more than 50 bucks. You didn’t have to be a one percenter to go to a concert!

    I very much lucked out and got floor tickets for my daughter and I after Ticketmaster notified me a few weeks after the November sale disaster (where i waiter on the queue for 6 hours before the system crashed) that as someone who had the Swiftie code I could try again in December and I was able to get 2 floor tickets (they added a few new sections at MetLife) at face value. I told my daughter that there was no way I was going to spend thousands and thousands of dollars on tickets through Stubhub, etc even though I wanted to go to the concert too. But now I see how it’s become such a thing at her school- who’s going, who isn’t going- and I feel awful for kids who wanted to go so badly but can’t afford tix through third parties.

    I seriously hope Taylor launches her own ticket selling platform. One that actually makes sense!

    • Tate says:

      My daughters got lucky and managed to get tickets too. They were at the pouring rain concert at Gillette on Saturday. They had an amazing time. Taylor played for 3 1/2 hours in the pouring rain.

      • MoP says:

        Same! Both my girls went too (teenagers) – tickets were insanely priced, but they work and had the money, so it was worth it to them. They had a great time!

  7. Abby says:

    My favorite concert memory is also U2 twenty years ago.
    I wouldn’t pay 10 dollars to see Swift, never mind these exorbitant insane prices. I’d rather go to Broadway several times and see proper talent on stage.

    • trillion says:

      I’m not exactly a Taylor Swift fan, but I acknowledge her substantial talent.

  8. TwinFalls says:

    Artists are pretty much powerless to change the set up. Ticketmaster/Live Nation is a monopoly.


  9. amyb says:

    People who live in the area are used to it – concerts and football have been a constant there for decades. The town blocks off lots of roads just for residents to use so they can avoid Rt1. I went to the rain concert – despite the pouring rain it was an amazing concert.

  10. Abby says:

    I spent hours waiting on the presale to reserve a spot, and 8 hours online trying to get tickets. When I did get in, only nosebleeds were left. But my tickets were $109 each and my budget was $150. I felt so incredibly lucky to get to go. And the seats were great, despite being so high up. I had a really good time and it was the best concert I’ve ever been to. I would not have paid hundreds or thousands of dollars though, because that is not financially possible (or the way I want to spend my money personally). So I’m glad waiting in the queue forever worked out. I feel bad for folks who went through the process and still didn’t get tickets. Several friends of mine got resale tickets for around $200 a piece.

  11. ChillinginDC says:

    There’s no way I would be doing this.

  12. Mair says:

    I got my daughter 2 tickets at face value through Ticket Master for last night’s show. Just $99 each. It was funny — these two seats were all that was left in the entire lower half of this section. Upper deck, but fourth row overlooking the stage. Good seats after waiting 5 hours online! I don’t know why no one else wanted them up to that point.

    They had a great time!

  13. Arizona says:

    I went Friday, and we paid $400 for the lower bowl – we were in the middle of that section. they were great tickets! it was really challenging to get them though. right before the show, tickets in the same area were going for about 4K lol.

  14. Heather says:

    I agree. I bet Taylor is working behind the scenes to create her own ticket service, or even a larger one to compete with Ticketmaster.

    I also thought what about a Vegas residency for TS? I know a lot of her base is young girls, but you don’t have to be 21 to go to a show/concert. I wonder if she’ll ever do a residency?

  15. Shells_Bells says:

    Maybe my age is showing, but I can NOT wrap my head around this.

    I love live music and go to a ton of concerts and have often seen the same band multiple times, but this is just another level of obsession.
    My 40 something coworker spent 30 minutes this morning talking about Taylor, how much she loves her and how awesome the show was (that she went to WEEKS ago)
    I find it so strange and unhealthy to be obsessed with anything this much.

  16. Glitterachi says:

    Problem with creating your own ticket system to thwart Ticketmaster: they have exclusive rights to most of the large venues. It’s possible to find a network of mid-sized venues and theatres that don’t have Ticketmaster/LiveNation contracts, but easily 90% of the stadiums and full-sized arenas do. Unless she’s also literally constructing temporary 70,000-person grandstands in the middle of nowhere for each stop, there’s no place for an act as large as Taylor Swift to actually perform and sell tickets to.

    For the reputation tour, she did a thing where fans could spend the month or two leading up to the tickets going on sale earning points to influence their spot in line, and then the ticket sales rolled out over the course of a couple of weeks, and you had a 10 or 20 minute slot where it was only you and a half dozen other people trying to get tickets. Kept the prices reasonable, and the stress down. She caught some unfair flack for it, which is probably why she didn’t do it this time around (because buying merch gained you a lot of points – like the tickets themselves weren’t going to cost money??), but it was the smoothest and most stress-free ticket-buying experience I’ve ever had.

    • TwinFalls says:

      Live Nation also controls artist promotion and to use their venues they take a percentage of merchandise profits further driving up cost to fans. Live Nation is a menace.

  17. Kim says:

    Taylor-gating sounds a little iffy. As long as everyone isn’t going just to say they “went to the concert”.

    I hate to bring reality in but its obvious Taylor scalped her own show. That’s why she isn’t bashing ticketmaster. It’s Taylor swift. She doesn’t have to put up with anything. Ticketmaster has dynamic pricing. They saw the demand. And refreshed the system to adjust prices.