Friendship bracelets, Taylor-gating, secret songs: A guide to Taylor-mania (2024)

Though a production spectacle in and of itself, much of the hype comes down to Swift herself. The 34-year-old cultural juggernaut was Time magazine’s person of the year in 2023, as well as Spotify’s most-streamed artist, and the re-recorded version of her 1989 album became the best-selling album of the year.

The star has continued generating interest ahead of her Australian dates, announcing her 11th original album, The Tortured Poets Department, at the 66th Grammy Awards last week. At the same award show, she also broke the record for most album of the year awards (she now has four), beating the likes of Frank Sinatra.

What’s with the friendships bracelets?

These colourful bracelets have become a calling card of the Eras Tour, with some concert-goers covering their entire arms with the handmade beaded bands.

The custom originated after Swift released the song You’re on Your Own, Kid, a track from her 2022 album Midnights. In the song, she sings: “So, make the friendship bracelets, take the moment and taste it.” The Eras Tour began a few weeks after the album landed and fans quickly established the tradition.

Friendship bracelets, Taylor-gating, secret songs: A guide to Taylor-mania (1)

Now, bracelet-making tutorials on YouTube are racking up hundreds of thousands of views, workshops are being held across the cities Swift tours and craft stores are seeing a massive uptick in bead demand.

Friendship bracelets, Taylor-gating, secret songs: A guide to Taylor-mania (2)

Many of the bracelets exchanged at the tour consist of beads that spell out popular Swift lyrics, an inside joke among the fandom (a popular one being “Starbucks Lover” – a commonly misheard lyric in Blank Space), or their favourite album era.

What’s the deal with Taylor-gating?

Not every Swiftie was lucky enough to nab a ticket. But if Swift’s previous shows tell us anything, it’s that the pop star’s fans are nothing if not determined. Fans overseas who missed out on tickets congregated in streets and parking lots near the venues to soak up the Eras experience, inspiring the phrase “Taylor-gating”.

However, both the MCG and Accor Stadium, the venues for the shows in Melbourne and Sydney, have asked that only those with a valid ticket attend the venue precincts on show days, citing safety reasons.

The MCG added that there would be “no activations in Yarra Park or screens showing the concert live”. The consumption of alcohol was also banned, alongside barbecues and the erection of marquees or tents.

What should I bring to the venue?

As a general rule of thumb, pack light. There won’t be any cloaking facilities at the venues, so you’ll need to keep what you bring with you at all times.

Concert-goers can only bring one personal item into the venue (this excludes any official merch bought there). That means you can only bring one bag, which must be smaller than an A4 size (30cm wide x 35cm high x 20cm deep with a maximum of 2 compartments). The bag does not have to be clear.

Your ticket will only be accessible via your Ticketek account, so make sure you download the app and add your ticket to the digital Apple or Google wallet before the concert. On the day, bring a fully charged smartphone and, to be safe, a valid form of ID. Notably, the MCG is entirely cashless, so you will also need your smartphone (or a debit/credit card) for any purchases. You cannot bring battery packs, but personal portable phone chargers smaller than your phone are allowed.

As is custom at a Swift concert, the swapping of friendship bracelets will be permitted. However, they cannot be kept in a separate bag or on a carabiner or d-ring. Large signs will also be forbidden, so you’ll need to find another way to communicate your devotion to Swift.

Keeping hydrated will be imperative, but ensure you do not bring a metal or hard plastic bottle that is larger than 600ml (sealed clear soft plastic bottles are fine). There will be water stations within the venues. If you are on the arena floor, no bottles are permitted. You will instead have to use the cups and water refill stations provided.

Finally, you will be able to take photos and videos on your phone, but any professional photography equipment will not be permitted. This includes GoPros, selfie sticks, tripods, drones and professional cameras with detachable lenses.

When should I arrive, and how should I get there?

Doors open at 4.30pm at both venues. The opening act, Sabrina Carpenter, will kick off at about 6.30pm, with Swift taking the stage after 7pm. Notably, these times are subject to change. Considering all seats are reserved, you will not need to arrive hours before doors open. However, if you wish to purchase merchandise, stands outside the venue will open from midday.

Extra train services will run during the weekend of the Melbourne shows; however, certain lines (including the Belgrave and Frankston lines) have buses replacing trains along the circuit, so ensure you check public transport options well before leaving. No public parking will be available at the MCG, except for a limited number of spots available for those with an accessibility parking permit.

Friendship bracelets, Taylor-gating, secret songs: A guide to Taylor-mania (3)

For those headed to Accor Stadium, all public transport costs are included in the concert ticket, but if you wish to drive, a limited number of parking spots will be available as long as you book in advance.

If you’re still unsure about anything, Ticketek has organised Customer Service pop-ups at both venues, which will be open from the Wednesday prior to each show.

Where can I get merch?

You will be able to buy official merchandise from stands outside the venue on show days.

Crown Melbourne organised a merch pop-up on February 13 from 9am to 6pm, though it has already been fully booked. Those who missed out can access the pre-sales, which will take place across two locations in Yarra Park on February 14 and 15 from 10am to 6pm.

Sydney Swifties can stock up during the pre-sales on February 21 and 22, which will be open from 10am to 6pm at the corner of Olympic Boulevard and Dawn Fraser Avenue.

Will there be any surprise guests?

It has already been announced that US singer Sabrina Carpenter will be opening all of Swift’s Australian shows, performing hits from her Emails I can’t send album.

But could there be more? Swift has surprised fans at previous Eras shows, such as her producer Jack Antonoff at her first New Jersey show and Ice Spice (also at her New Jersey shows).

Though nothing has yet been confirmed – or even suggested – could Swift intend to stun audiences by bringing out someone like Aussie icon G Flip, whose rock cover of Cruel Summer went viral last month? Or perhaps The National’s Aaron Dessner, who has appeared alongside Swift at previous Eras gigs (he has co-written a few of her songs) and will be in Australia around the same time? Only time will tell.

Can I expect any secret songs?

Given Swift has performed surprise songs at every concert, the fact that there will be additional songs on the set-list isn’t exactly “secret”. The songs she chooses, however, are.

Swift usually plays two extra songs on top of the 42 on the existing set-list. If someone like Dessner were to join her on stage, this could mean songs he helped co-write – such as Exile, Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve and Ivy – could be on the table.

Other possibilities include songs she has not played at other shows yet, including Long Story Short, Peace, or Paris.

You can listen to the permanent Eras set-list here.

Should I know any fan chants or rituals?

Thanks to an endless stream of TikToks filmed at Swift’s previous shows, Australian fans can show up knowing exactly when and how to get involved. Here are some of the most popular chants and rituals to remember.

Delicate

Lyrics: “We can’t make any promises/ Now can we, babe? / But you can make me a drink”.

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Fan chant: “One, two, three, let’s go b****”

Don’t Blame Me

Lyrics: “Every time you’re, every time you’re lovin’ me”.

Fan chant: “Take us to church, Taylor”.

All Too Well (10 minute version)

Lyrics: “And you were tossing me the car keys...”

Fan chant: “F*** the patriarchy”.

Bad Blood

Swift sings the original version of the song; however, she encourages fans to shout Kendrick Lamar’s popular line from the remix.

Lyrics: “Band-Aids don’t fix bullet holes / You say sorry just for show / If you live like that, you live with ghosts”.

Fan chant: “You forgive, you forget, but you never let it go”.

Fearless

Swift has become known for holding out her hands in the shape of a heart during her performances. Now, the crowd does it in return.

Lyrics: “It’s the first kiss, it’s flawless, really something”.

Fans: hold up heart hands

Marjorie

Swift wrote this song as a tribute to her grandmother, who died in 2003. In honour of this, fans quiet down and illuminate the stadium with their phone flashlights while she sings.

You can watch a more exhaustive list of the chants and rituals to learn before the show here.

Find out the next TV, streaming series and movies to add to your must-sees. Get The Watchlist delivered every Thursday.

Friendship bracelets, Taylor-gating, secret songs: A guide to Taylor-mania (2024)

FAQs

What's the deal with Taylor Swift friendship bracelets? ›

Midnights was released in October 2022, and when the Eras tour – chronicling Swift's entire musical career – was announced just weeks later, some fans suggested they make friendship bracelets to swap with each other at the show. And thus, a worldwide trend was born.

Did Travis Kelce try to give Taylor Swift a friendship bracelet? ›

“If you're up on Taylor Swift concerts, there are friendship bracelets and I received a bunch of them being there, but I wanted to give Taylor Swift one with my number on it,” Travis said before lamenting that “she doesn't meet anybody or at least she didn't want to meet me, so I took it personal.

Why are people making friendship bracelets for the eras tour? ›

“The whole Eras Tour has this element of nostalgia and girlhood,” she says. “Making the bracelets is just like a celebration of that, and a celebration of us getting older, and kind of going through that as Taylor has gotten older and made new albums for different phases of your life.

Why do swifties wear 13? ›

Taylor Swift considers number 13 to be her lucky number, often referencing it. Swift stated in an interview, "I was born on the 13th, I turned 13 on Friday the 13th, my first album went gold in 13 weeks. Also, my first song that ever went number 1, it had a 13 second intro, I didn't even do that on purpose!

Who is Taylor's best friend? ›

You'd think being part of Taylor Swift's “squad” of A-list pals is something you'd want to shout about, but the singer's long-term bestie Ash Avignone has tended to keep their friendship low key and out of the spotlight over the years.

How much older is Travis Kelce than Taylor Swift? ›

He's 34 years old. Swift was born Dec. 13, 1989, making her the same age.

Who did Taylor give her hat to? ›

Taylor Swift has granted a young girl with cancer's wish to meet her. During the pop superstar's Sydney Eras Tour show on Friday, she gave the coveted "22" hat to 9-year-old Australian resident Scarlett Oliver, whose stepmother Natalie had shared her story and desire to meet Swift via social media.

What surprise songs has Taylor not played? ›

Swift has less than 40 songs that she's never performed from her ten albums:
  • Self-Titled: The Outside, Mary's Song (Oh My My My), A Perfectly Good Heart.
  • Fearless: The Way I Loved You, Change, Come In With The Rain, Superstar, We Were Happy, That's When, Don't You, Bye Bye Baby.
Nov 24, 2023

What is a Taylor rave? ›

Taylor Rave: A night full of Taylor Swift remixes, originals, lasers, neons, balloons and more. Only Taylor all night.

Was Evermore a surprise drop? ›

Evermore is the ninth studio album by the American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. It was a surprise album released on December 11, 2020, via Republic Records, less than five months after her previous studio album Folklore.

What is Taylor Swift's favorite color? ›

Taylor Swift's fav color... Fandom. When? She said at the Eras tour, when she performed Enchanted, it was Purple, which inspired the theme for the song!

Who are Taylor Swift's closest friends? ›

Taylor Swift has a lot of famous friendships who have been referred to as members of her "squad." Selena Gomez, Martha Hunt, Abigail Anderson Lucier, and Gigi Hadid are some of the original members. Swift has also befriended actresses Blake Lively, Hailee Steinfeld, Emma Stone, and Lena Dunham.

How long should a friendship bracelet be? ›

For a bracelet, 21 1/2 inches is a good length. If I don't have a tape measure handy, I just use the length of my arm for a measurement. For anklets, or for grownup wrists, you'll need to cut the threads longer. 3) Tie the threads together in a basic knot.

Do I need friendship bracelets for the eras tour? ›

Eras attire, friendship bracelets, singing and dancing encouraged,” she wrote, before asking fans, “What's your friendship bracelet going to say?” Her people have said the idea of showing the concert in theaters was designed so that people who couldn't afford a concert ticket or airfare can still get the experience.

How did Travis Kelce get Taylor Swift's attention? ›

I had somebody playing Cupid," Kelce told WSJ. Magazine, adding that he eventually found that out from Swift when she contacted him directly. Kelce added that a few members of the Swift family even assisted in helping him get her attention.

What did Travis Kelce say to Taylor Swift? ›

"Thank you for coming, baby. Thank you for the support. Thank you for coming," Kelce said to Swift. "Thank you for making it all the way across the world.

What is the most popular friendship bracelet? ›

Some of the most popular friendship bracelet styles are based on Native American patterns. Most of these use the half-hitch knot. Some of the most common patterns include the chevron, broken ladder, totem pole, and diamond. Some of these patterns are based on the styles of Navajo weaving.

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