Welcome to Taylor Swift week in Tampa. Even if you didn’t score one of those coveted tickets to the Eras Tour that crashed Ticketmaster, you will still likely be affected by traffic or the anxious Swifties in your life.
We have been busy here at the Tampa Bay Times, and we make no apologies. Because even though other big acts like the Rolling Stones or Coldplay or Kenny Chesney have lit up Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium for sold-out shows, Taylor Swift is making history in Tampa Bay with three sold-out stadium nights starting Thursday.
Here’s what you need to know, whether you are going or not:
Swift’s merch truck arrived Wednesday
You can get a jump on the hot Swiftie merchandise even if you don’t have a ticket, because the Taylor Swift merchandise truck will arrive early. We also took a look at what to buy and where to find it elsewhere.
UPDATE: There were long lines that started at 6 a.m. for fans looking for Eras Tour merchandise.
What Swifties are wearing to the Eras shows
Her fans have been hard at work with glue guns and needles getting their outfits ready, and we talked to some of the creative ones about what they are wearing. But be careful, no light-up outfits or signs are allowed this time.
What to know before you see a Taylor Swift show
We have guides on where to park and how to avoid traffic jams, the weather forecast and what you can bring. We also have the info on the day’s schedules, stadium policies and resale tickets. Plus, here’s a lineup of the dance parties, tailgates and special drinks themed just for Swifties.
We even have predictions on her Tampa Bay tour’s setlist.
The economic impact of Taylor Swift
When Taylor Swift breezes in for her three-night stand in Tampa, she’s poised to rake in a lot of dough. So are, most likely, Hillsborough County taxpayers. Economic development reporter Jay Cridlin checked the receipts on the revenue the tour stop will bring the Tampa Sports Authority.
Not only are Tampa Taylor Swift tickets pricey — hotels are too. Room prices are double what they were this same time last year.
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Let Swifties have their joy
Columnist Stephanie Hayes puts the grumps on notice: “To be enthusiastic anymore somehow feels pure, silly, fragile. One of the many reasons Swift’s fans adore her is because she embraces the joyful, goofy side of the fandom: the friendship bracelets, the Easter eggs in her posts, the unhinged fan theories.”
So haters back off. Swift is, after all, our new mayor.
But Hayes does still have room for hate when it comes to the outrageous price of parking and what we could do about it.
Taylor in Tampa through the years
We put on the nostalgia glasses and made some surprising discoveries about Taylor Swift’s connection to Tampa Bay as she rose from little-known teen country singer to queen of her own music empire.
She wowed a small crowd at the old St. Pete Pier and the Strawberry Festival in Plant City. Then later, she brought stunning productions to Tampa that made headlines worldwide, from the time she trotted out guest star Idina Menzel dressed in a full Queen Elsa getup to what became a pivotal moment in the Netflix documentary “Miss Americana.”
Don’t skip school for Taylor
Even the Hillsborough County Public Schools superintendent got in the spirit with social media messages this week and some good-humored nagging for students not to use concert tickets as an excuse to miss school. He borrowed heavily from Swift song lyrics in a tongue-in-cheek letter to students.