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Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour” sweeps UNI students


146 shows. Five continents. A three-hour setlist.

The Taylor Swift Eras tour has swept the nation and stolen the hearts of thousands of young fans, including many students at UNI.

Jenna Westendorf is a first-year UNI student studying Digital Media Journalism and has been a lifelong fan of Swift. In fact, she remembers the first time she ever heard a Taylor Swift song. “The first song I ever heard by her was when my friend played me her iconic ‘You Belong with Me’ song after her Fearless album came out. After that, I’ve just always been a huge fan of hers,” Westendorf said. “When CDs were still a thing, I always had to make sure I had a copy of her newest album. So overall this tour was definitely a full circle moment of all of the years I’ve been a fan of her, especially since it was my first time seeing her in concert.”

Westendorf attended two shows of the Eras tour, one in Minneapolis and the other in Kansas City. According to Westendorf, the process of acquiring tickets was stressful. “I got my Eras Tour tickets by sitting in the queue for about an hour or so before finally securing tickets. For my second show, Kansas City night one, my best friend’s step dad actually got the tickets for us. The process was definitely nerve-wracking because it was kind of just a race to see if once you got in after waiting in the queue if you would actually get tickets or not. I was definitely crying when I secured my tickets,” Westendorf said.


Junior Morgan Kielly also attended the tour and took a different approach to buying tickets. “We had 5 of us with presale tickets in the queue, and only one of my friends ended up getting tickets. She got enough for all of us, but she was in line for over 6 hours and barely got the last seats in the stadium,” Kielly said. “Although we didn’t get the best tickets, we were just happy to get tickets at all.”

Westendorf and Kielly weren’t alone in their struggle to acquire tickets. The mass popularity of the tour announcement caused the Ticketmaster site to completely shut down, causing outrage among fans. Taylor Swift herself even took to her Instagram stories to condemn the site, saying, “It’s really difficult for me to trust an outside entity with these relationships and loyalties, and excruciating for me to just watch mistakes happen with no recourse— It’s truly amazing that 2.4 million people got tickets, but it really pisses me off that a lot of them feel like they went through several bear attacks to get them.” Ticketmaster later cited a “historically-unprecedented demand” for the issues.

In a nutshell, the Eras tour is precisely that: historically unprecedented. Breaking records, the tour is expected to gross over 2 billion dollars and become the biggest concert tour in history, which is a title currently held by Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour. This widespread cultural phenomenon of Swift’s newest tour has resulted in an economic boom, revitalizing consumer spending in major cities. The average amount spent on the Eras tour is $1,300 per concertgoer. Fans have spent thousands not only on tickets, but on elaborate costumes, hotel rooms, tour merchandise, gas, friendship bracelet materials, and more.

Alli Webster is a freshman at UNI studying public relations and joined other fans in dressing in a specific “era” of Swift’s music during the first night of the Kansas City leg. “I dressed in the Speak Now Era. Speak Now is my second favorite album, and I love the color purple. I decided to dress in the Speak Now Era because she was going to drop Taylor’s Version of Speak Now the day that my concert was, which was July 7,” Webster said.

Webster traveled from Des Moines, Iowa to see the show, spending money on gas and a hotel room. But according to her, the experience of the tour made everything worth it. “Being at this tour was a mix of feelings. It was nothing but positively connotated emotions. It was bittersweet, sappy (sad and happy all together), healing, exhilarating, you get the gist. There wasn’t a moment that I wasn’t smiling during the concert,” Webster said. “My favorite part of the night was when she debuted the ‘I Can See You’ music video live, and then brought out Joey King, Taylor Lautner, and Presley Cash.”

Claire Hoeg is a senior studying Public Relations at UNI, and traveled to Chicago with her mom and sisters to see the concert. “It was such a fun mini vacation for me and my family. We had two hotel rooms, and we deemed one as the ‘getting ready’ room. By the time we left the hotel, that room was covered in glitter, makeup, hairspray, and sequins. It was the most girl/Barbie thing ever,” Hoeg said. “It’s one thing to go to the eras tour with your best friends. It’s a whole other thing to go to the Eras tour with your mom and sisters who have been Swifties with you since her first album.”


Regardless of where each fan saw the show, the common consensus was a feeling of connection to so many people. Freshman Nessa Striegel credits Swift’s music in helping form a lifelong friendship. “I went with my friend Gwen and her sister Ada, who have been my best friends for a long time. The love we have shared for Taylor Swift over the years is unmatched by anything else in my life,” Striegel said. “My freshman year is when Gwen and I started to really become friends. She was a year ahead of me, but because of music and volleyball, we connected immediately. So many of Taylor’s songs were shared between us and helped us through many days of a widespread range of feelings. She has a song for everything. Being able to have Gwen bring me to the concert was the best feeling in the world.”

Claire Hoeg credited the many fans at the tour for the positive experience. “I will also never forget the feeling of pure sisterhood. I felt as though I was in a really big sorority. I have never been in an NFL-sized stadium before. I thought I would be terrified and overwhelmed by the amount of people, but honestly, I found myself feeling so safe and protected by all of the women I was surrounded by who were just as passionate as I was about Taylor. It was very comforting,” Hoeg said.

The fans came in all shapes and sizes, according to Hoeg. She said the best moments were witnessing fans make connections over the shared love of Swift’s music. “The last memory that is currently coming to my mind is sitting in front of me were these three dads who brought their daughters to the Eras Tour. They knew Taylor’s huge songs like Shake It Off and Blank Space, but other than that they were pretty lost,” Hoeg said. “However, they stood standing almost the entire time. They were dancing, laughing, and having a really fun time. They seemed like such kind dads and men, and they definitely had the time of their lives.”

Faith Springer, a freshman, also attended the tour dressed in a reputation-era costume. A popular fan activity at the eras tour is to make friendship bracelets and exchange them with other fans at the concert. “One of the sweetest moments that happened was when we were scanning our tickets to enter the stadium, we talked to an older man working there. He then asked if he could possibly have one of our friendship bracelets for his granddaughter who couldn’t attend the tour. It was super cute,” Springer said.

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About the Contributor
ERIN MCRAE, Staff Writer
Erin McRae is a junior majoring in English with a minor in Creative Writing and a certificate in Literary Publishing. Erin is interested in covering important events happening around UNI. Off-campus, Erin is heavily involved in community theater productions in the greater Cedar Valley area and loves spending time on stage!

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