Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour” begins in Glendale, AZ, aka “Swift City”


Taylor Swift on May 8, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona.
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

  • Taylor Swift’s highly-anticipated, record-breaking “Eras Tour” kicks off Friday.
  • Glendale, Arizona, which is hosting the first two dates, has been renamed Swift City in her honor.
  • Hotels are booked in Glendale, shops are making room and the cookies are flowing.

Welcome to Swift City of 250,000 people – plus over 100,000 Swifties.

It’s usually known as Glendale, Arizona, but the city that’s hosting the opening show for Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour” has embraced Swiftsanity fully, renaming itself Swift City for Friday and Saturday.

“One of my jobs is promoting my city as a cheerleader. This celebratory renaming of Glendale will cost taxpayers nothing,” Glendale Mayor Jerry P. Weiers said in a statement to Insider. “And it shows that we’re serious about our sports and entertainment district while having fun at the same time.”

It’ll be fun, sure, but it’s a lot of work: An estimated flock of 150,000 swiftie means local businesses are stocking extra ingredients, hiring more staff and planning themed events.

The Swift City logo.
Courtesy of Visit Glendale

Swift’s tour is already record-breaking, selling over 2 million tickets on the first day they went on sale on Ticketmaster alone. Now that Swifties are facing hour-long queues, high resale prices, and the twists and turns of trying to get tickets to spring’s hottest tour, they’re ready to do it — and spend their money.

Glendale is no stranger to big events. You may remember that the Super Bowl was held here last month. This time, fans are enthralled as the singer, songwriter and director embarks on her first tour since 2018, and local companies are bracing for an influx of Swifties. It’s a microcosm of the tremendous economic power wielded by Swift’s estimated $570 million business.

“The start of the Eras Tour puts the city of Glendale back in the national spotlight a month after Super Bowl LVII,” said Weiers. “We expect more than 150,000 Swifties will visit our sports and entertainment district for food, concerts and a hotel room.”

Morgan Milardo, the executive director of the Berklee Popular Music Institute, which focuses on the touring industry, told Insider that the impact of concert-goers browsing small businesses like thrift stores is “just huge.”

“It’s just really having a positive impact on the local economy,” Milardo said. “In addition to all the concert-goers, these huge tours are often amazing spectacles and incredible productions, and it requires local support from local unions and production suppliers.”

Fully booked hotels, brand new bars and thousands of cookies

While concert-goers don’t want to leave the entertainment district to visit an East Side dive bar, local restaurants near the stadium are bracing for the influx of swifties — and ready to quench their thirst.

Then Burger, which is completely booked, throws a pre-party and tidies up furniture to accommodate more people. It sets up a satellite bar and orders more alcohol. Expect some custom Swift cocktails and playlists. More servers and hosts will also work.

Cocktails at a “Midnights” PJ party in Glendale.
Courtesy of Visit Glendale

“I’m looking forward to doing a lot and making money,” Then Burger host Kayla Bybee told Insider.

Meanwhile, in Glendale, Crumbl Cookies is making sure its fridges are stocked and staying stocked all weekend. Chyna Murphy, his manager, said it would have more workers than usual and was preparing to sell thousands of cookies.

During a recent Carrie Underwood concert, Crumbl sold about 1,500 cookies in one day, Murphy said. Between 3,000 and 5,000 cookies are expected to be sold over Swift weekend.

“It takes a lot for us to prepare, but we always have it under control,” Murphy said.

Glendale Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Danielle Dutsch said there were “a lot of people here”. Hotels are busy, restaurants are busy and Glendale expects a lot of foot traffic.

“We have people who will travel far to see Tay Tay,” Dutsch said. “It’s just overwhelming to know that this amazing woman can come and help us from an economic point of view just by being here.”

Dutsch herself feels the trickle-down effect of Swiftmania: on her lunch breaks and late nights in the office, she’s been listening to Swift train at the nearby stadium.

The Swift City Proclamation.
Courtesy of Visit Glendale

On the day the tour was announced, in the fall, the Holiday Inn Glendale was sold out, according to a representative. But it’s stocked and ready, the rep told Insider. The Super Bowl and Arizona’s peak tourism years were good practice. The TownePlace Suites in Glendale have been fully booked since around the beginning of March, according to an employee. The people who are calling now for reservations are late.

The Hampton Inn & Suites in Glendale is also fully booked Friday through Sunday, as are Home2 Suites and Tru by Hilton. In the meantime, you might be able to snag one of the few remaining rooms at the Renaissance Phoenix Glendale Hotel & Spa for $1,500 a night.

A room there typically costs around $300 to $400, said Tony S, who works at the Renaissance. Swift-adjusted rates are comparable to in-hotel rates during the Super Bowl, which Tony said were in the $1,600 range.

At the Renaissance, we “welcome” Swifties, the Renaissance worker said.

“Now Glendale is Swift City so we welcome them with open arms,” ​​he added.

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