The parking lot scene outside of concerts on the Taylor Swift Eras Tour is beginning to look, well, strangely familiar. Swifties unable to procure tickets have taken a page out of the Deadhead playbook and started enjoying the shows from the parking lot without ever entering the venue, a behavior that is being called “Taylor-gating.”
After a botched Ticketmaster on-sale left droves of fans without tickets, ticket prices for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour reached the thousands, forcing many fans to give up hope, but some refused to let that stop them. Hordes of teenaged girls (and parents) have begun gathering in the parking lot outside of Swift’s sold-out concerts armed with snacks, drinks, and even air mattresses.
“I’m sure Taylor heard double the voices she was expecting because we were all out there singing even though we weren’t inside,” said Michaela Hogan, a fan who attended one of Swift’s Nashville concerts from the parking lot.
“Full on dance floor right here—screaming, everything,” one Philadelphia fan said on TODAY.
“What other concert are you seeing this many people sit outside the stadium, in alleys, on the floor?” Anna Mason, 24, told The Washington Post. Well, Anna, I’m glad you asked.
Though the demographic, energy, and general aesthetic of the crowd is quite different, the developing Taylor-gate phenomenon bears an uncanny resemblance to the traveling carnival of a parking lot scene that began following the Grateful Dead back in the ’60s and continues to pop up wherever Phish, Dead & Company, and other top-tier jam bands perform. The only things missing are the heady crafts vendors and grilled cheese.
Swifties are already encountering some of the many challenges that come with life on tour, beginning with the fact that some venues, including Massachusetts’ Gillette Stadium, where Swift is performing from May 19th–21st, only allow ticket holders into the parking lot, but like Deadheads, Taylor Swift fans are a resourceful bunch and have used the one thing Deadheads of old lacked—social media—to coordinate plans to walk or ride-share to their Taylor-gates.