Tampa, Fla. Have you heard of the women who hide under the truck all night?
Rumors were flying outside Raymond James Stadium 36 hours before Taylor Swift took the stage at the 75,000-seat site on Florida’s west coast.
They went from person to person, like a child’s game of telephone. But lines outside the stadium last week consisted of fans of all ages who were willing to endure hours to buy souvenirs tied to the singer. Era tour. Many of them arrived before sunrise.
When word got out that some prize items could be sold, some Softies Talked darkly about resellers with suitcases who had bought boxes of t-shirts and sweatshirts at previous tour stops. It was also said that a few women had spent the night under a cargo truck.
That turned out to be true. One of the women, Larissa Roberts, had the selfies to prove it – grainy photos showing she and a friend spent hours sheltering from the rain under a government Eras truck.
“There was nobody here,” Ms. Roberts, an interior decorator from Trinity, Fla., said of the scene outside the stadium when she arrived between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. Wednesday. She added that she planned to buy sweatshirts for her daughters Lily and Daisy.
Shirley Vogler, a nurse from Tampa, said she had earlier arrived at Eras’ truck at 10 p.m. Like other early arrivals, he was moved from place to place by security guards in the early morning rain. At 5:45 a.m., she was among hundreds of people camped out on the sidewalk along six-lane West Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Ms. Vogler, 31, was sitting on the ground at the front, chatting with two other women she was friends with.
Fans were able to purchase merchandise inside the stadium each of the three nights Ms. Swift will perform at the home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. So why wait in the rain overnight? Ms Vogler, who had tickets to one of the shows, said it was because of what she had seen on social media – specifically, “Tik Tok about the commercial lines and traffic conditions in all the arenas. How bad.”
Several other fans mentioned seeing posts from Bailey McKnight Howard, one of the twin duo @brooklynandbailey, an Instagram account with nearly nine million followers. A few days ago, Ms. McKinty Howard posted photos of herself waiting outside AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Inside the world of Taylor Swift
He was too Modeling A newly purchased blue crew neck sweatshirt, a fan favorite. Almost everyone outside the stadium on Wednesday morning was trying to buy one, two, or more.
There was nothing flashy about it. The sweatshirt had no sequins or embroidery or hidden pockets. It was just your average everyday sweatshirt, with Ms. Swift’s name and “Eras Tour” emblazoned on the front and the dates of the tour and the titles of her albums on the back. If you closed your eyes and put together a blue crew neck sweatshirt with something written on it, your mental image would probably match this in-demand item.
One thing that made it special was the fact that, unlike some of the other tour souvenirs, it wasn’t available in its “Chili” section. taylorswift.com. It was also, notably, the rare dress sold that day that featured Ms. Swift’s face. In the weeks following the start of the Eras tour, fans elevated this unusual article of clothing to cult status.
“Every Swifty wants a blue staff,” said Debbie Lucy, a 60-year-old teacher who waited in line on her daughter’s behalf.
The apparently limited supply made it even more valuable. “Resale on sweatshirts is $300, Jack!” A fan was heard shouting into his phone. She was right. The sweatshirt is available on eBay for more than four times its $65 list price.
“I’m having nightmares about getting this crew neck,” said Emily Rottkamp, a 20-year employee at Disney World. “I didn’t sleep.”
Alyssa Massey, a personal injury specialist in Land O’Lakes, Fla., joined the line just before 5:30 a.m. She said her teenage niece gave her strict instructions: “‘Sweatshirt, Sweatshirt!“
“Social media makes things bigger than they are — like, almost unattainable,” said Ms. Massey, 36. “Like, if you don’t have it, you’re not good at school.”
Nearby, Vanessa Jordan, a sophomore at Wiregrass Ranch High School in Wesley Chapel, Fla., wore a plastic poncho to protect her from the rain. A few hours before sunrise, the glow from her phone lit up the area around her. “I miss school for it,” she said.
His mother, Chris, was sitting in a car parked nearby.
“I was like, ‘There’s no way I’m going to miss out on a trade just to go to school,'” Ms. Jordan said, describing how she managed to convince her parents. He added that he planned to buy at least five items, including You know.
Despite the chill in the air and the constant drizzle, spirits were high. Gina Delano, 27, walked up and down the sidewalk telling people she had a cooler full of free snacks and drinks. Wearing a cardigan that was sold on taylorswift.com at the time of the singer’s 2020 album “Folklore” (which includes the song “Cardigan”), Ms. Delano said she had traveled from her home near Buffalo.
“The weather could certainly be better,” he said, “but if that’s what it takes to get the goods, that’s what we’ll do.”
Elsewhere in line, Jess Montgomery, a wedding photographer from Dade City, Fla., cradled her 7-week-old son, Denver, in a blanket. Standing next to him was his 11-year-old niece. “I’ll be 40 next year,” Ms. Montgomery said, “and when she’s my age, I want her to look back and say, ‘My aunt was great.'” she said. He added that he had succeeded in his endeavours. Get tickets to any of the three sold-out Tampa shows.
Those outside the stadium included young people who had never known a world in which Ms. Swift was not an international superstar and women who had grown up alongside the 33-year-old singer. The hours of waiting allowed him to feel at home among hundreds of others who shared a love for Ms. Swift’s songs about high school bullies and first loves. heart break and loss.
“The worst kind of person is someone who makes someone feel bad, dumb or stupid for being passionate about something,” Ms Swift said in a statement. 2019 Interview. It’s a line that has often been copied by her fans on social media in response to haters.
Shortly after 7 a.m., Tampa resident Matt Langle sat on the sidewalk decked out in Pittsburgh Steelers gear while his daughter, Alexis, filmed the scene for her mother. Ms. Swift’s music had become a lifeline for the family, Mr. Lengel said, adding that his wife was disabled. “My wife, since she’s been in bed, has been through a lot of Taylor,” Mr. Langle said.
At 8 a.m., two hours before merchandise went on sale, stadium workers opened the parking lot. Some fans tried to respect the existing line while others moved to the front. As many people were waiting at different places, there was commotion. Fans who tried to adhere to the honor system found themselves more or less out of luck.
“Everybody started running in different directions,” said Ms. Roberts, the woman from under the truck, as she managed to secure a spot near the front of the line.
Back and forth, some people got into fights with people trying to get inside. “Get behind the line or I’m going to put you in jail,” a Tampa Police Department officer can be heard saying on video of the recorded scene. Reviewed by a fan and by The New York Times. Some cheered as several apparent line cutters obeyed his orders.
As 10 a.m. approached, local TV news crews showed up to interview fans, and a helicopter hovered above a commercial truck. Strong winds kicked up the dust. Hayley Lewis had tears streaming down her face.
“I think overnight camping is a bit much,” said Ms. Lewis, a 21-year-old college student who lives in Orlando. When she arrived at 8:30 a.m., the line was already more than 1,000 people long, she added. “I understand it, maybe, for concert tickets, but for a merch line it’s really crazy,” she said.
There turned out to be two trucks selling goods. Next to the Eras truck, which was made up of pictures of Ms. Swift’s face, was a plain black truck with “COOL STUFF” written on it in big red letters. Both trucks sold the same items.
Inside the trucks, salespeople prepared for the rush, unpacking boxes of shirts, tote bags, light wands and posters. They wore black Eras Tour T-shirts, the same ones they’ll sell for $45. (Online, some fans have Complained that some shirts fade significantly after washing.) There was one rule for the day: only two blue crewneck sweatshirts per customer.
At 10 a.m., the line moved forward. A pair of AirPods flew through the air and landed on the ground, their owner apparently oblivious. Things progressed slowly as fans who had it right up front asked to see different sizes and considered their options. The mood was tense but pleasant.
Less than an hour later, the vibe changed when word got around that the prize sweatshirts had sold out. Anna Augustus, a 26-year-old fan, got one of the last.
“When I got to the front they were taking them off the wall,” she said. “I was like: ‘Please give me the last one. I’ll do anything for you. I’ll drive you guys to Starbucks.'” A few hours later, true to his word, he gets coffee for the sales staff. Came back.
Christy Call, 38, and her daughter, Kelly, 11, said they would try to buy a sweatshirt at the concert. “I wish they had a little bit more, because they knew that’s what everybody wanted,” Ms Call said.
“I’m a little worried,” said Kelly, who bought an Era Tour-branded water bottle instead.
In the afternoon, Laura Gaughan, a 33-year-old fan in Baltimore who had come directly from the airport, joined the line outside the truck, her suitcase rolling behind her. “I’m getting some form,” he said.
Jaclyn Quinn, Joliet, Ill. A high school English teacher said Ms. Swift’s work was useful in her lessons. “We use ‘The Man’ to teach a critical lens and talk about a feminist lens as opposed to a gender lens,” she said. “We use his song ‘Bad Blood’ to talk about metaphor.” She bought an Eras tour wall tapestry for her classroom.
As 5 p.m. approached, salesmen began straightening trucks and peeling off tour T-shirts. When asked if he would keep the shirts he wore that day, one worker said, “No.” Instead, they folded them up and returned them to the piles to sell to fans the next day.
“Isn’t that awful?” said the seller. “Don’t tell.”