Podculture: Featuring the few ”Fearless” Swifties whose “Wildest Dreams” came true

Isabelle Butera, Reporter

Long story short, it was a bad time for Northwestern students who spent six hours or more waiting in the Ticketmaster queue to get tickets to Taylor Swift’s upcoming Eras Tour.


ISABELLE BUTERA: Imagine you set your alarm for 9:30 in the morning, make coffee and sit down on the couch, just to get tickets to one of Taylor Swift’s Chicago shows for her Eras Tour.
That’s how Medill junior Brea Lassek started her day on Nov. 15, waiting in a queue with hundreds of thousands of other Swifties with presale codes.

BREA LASSEK: Of course, no one knew how stressful it was going to be.


ISABELLE BUTERA: From the Daily Northwestern, I’m Isabelle Butera. This is Podculture, a podcast about arts and culture on campus and beyond.

ISABELLE BUTERA: Unless you’ve been living under a sound-proof, Swiftie-resistant rock, you probably heard that Taylor Swift is back with her sixth tour, known as The Eras Tour. With huge demand and for the singer who hasn’t toured since 2018, it seems like almost no one was able to get tickets for her 52 shows across the United States including myself. Today, we talked to the “lucky ones” who did. Lassek was one of them.

BREA LASSEK: Obviously, it’s not my fault that I have them, but at the same time I just know how many people have wanted to go and so you just don’t want to rub it in people’s faces. Yeah, I did survive the war, like I did get them.

ISABELLE BUTERA: And the war she’s talking about? Lassek and other fans expected to spend a while in the Ticketmaster queue, but they didn’t expect a wait of over six hours.

BREA LASSEK: What if we’re driving to class or walking to class and the Internet cuts out, or whatever it is? We’re staying on this couch. And we did, for 6 hours. My boyfriend brought us lunch and coffee at two different points — like it was a whole deal.

ISABELLE BUTERA: Medill sophomore Brooklyn Moore similarly spent eight hours staring at her laptop, watching Ticketmaster’s blue bubble move across the screen as she slowly progressed through the queue. She did all of this while sick with a fever.

BROOKLYN MOORE: I don’t deny that it’s crazy, I understand that, and I understand that most people wouldn’t be willing to do that, but it’s my own crazy and I’m okay with that.

ISABELLE BUTERA: Like other Swifties, when Moore logged into Ticketmaster, she received a notification that the queue was paused due to “extraordinarily high demand.”

[notification sound]

ISABELLE BUTERA: Ticketmaster later pushed back the ticket sale for West Coast cities and canceled general ticket sales because of “insufficient inventory.”

BROOKLYN MOORE: That really ticked me off because I was like “You know exactly how many people you gave codes to. You know exactly how many people sign up to get a code.”

ISABELLE BUTERA: Ticketmaster left more people like Moore frustrated — especially with many resellers buying tickets and listing them at prices upwards of $30,000. Some Swifties even filed a lawsuit with the L.A. County Superior Court alleging that Ticketmaster has a monopoly on primary and secondary markets that violates antitrust laws.

ISABELLE BUTERA: Moore was lucky, though, and secured tickets for herself and her sister for the April 23 Houston show.

BROOKLYN MOORE: Thank God. If I didn’t get tickets at the end of all of that, I don’t know what I would have done, like beside myself.

ISABELLE BUTERA: What made it worth waiting 8 hours to get tickets for Taylor Swift?

BROOKLYN MOORE: I went to her “reputation” concert in high school, and it was hands down the best concert I’ve ever been to. She just puts on such a production, like such a show.

ISABELLE BUTERA: Moore had tickets to Lover Fest, Swift’s concert scheduled right before the pandemic. Since then, Swift released three new albums. Her most recent album “Midnights,” broke Spotify’s record for most streamed album in a single day.

[crowd cheering]

ISABELLE BUTERA: The Eras Tour promises to include songs from all 10 Taylor Swift studio albums.

ISABELLE BUTERA: As a musician, Taylor Swift is known for her deeply loyal fanbase that connects online over hidden meanings in her discography. Weinberg sophomore Kate Payne wrote about the connection Taylor has with her fans for a final project.

KATE PAYNE: For my religion class that was on cults and, like, new religion, so I kind of talked about the “religion” of Taylor Swift.

ISABELLE BUTERA: While Payne doesn’t “worship” Taylor Swift, she admires her songwriting ability and dedication to her fans.

KATE PAYNE: She just really listens to her fans and doesn’t just write songs about her exes or things like that — she wants to connect with people and has all these Easter eggs and special hidden things in her albums.

ISABELLE BUTERA: Payne not only appreciates Swift’s songwriting, but also how she uses her platform for good.

KATE PAYNE: She’s really empowering for young women, and is not afraid to speak her mind.

ISABELLE BUTERA: In the past though, Swift was criticized for her political inaction, only recently “coming out” politically during the 2018 election cycle. Now, she encourages her fans to vote and she speaks out often about the struggles of being a woman in the entertainment industry.


ISABELLE BUTERA: If there is one thing we can be sure of, it is that Taylor Swift resonates on Northwestern’s campus. A GroupMe of Taylor Swift fans called the NU Taylor Swift Society has over 200 members. When new albums are released, Northwestern spaces on social media are flooded with Swifties discussing the new music or planning listening parties.

SAM KLISS: Last year when “Red (Taylor’s Version)” came out, my roommate and I, we just lied on the floor, and as soon as it came out we hit play and then we went to the bathroom at one point. I heard the other girl doing it on our floor too, and I was like “This is so real. This is so universal.”

ISABELLE BUTERA: That was Weinberg sophomore, Sam Kliss. She remembers dancing to Taylor Swift’s music all the way back to her “Fearless” album.

SAM KLISS: I think part of it is just like having grown up with her. I feel like even if you’re not a huge fan, there’s some nostalgia to all of it just because it’s something everyone’s grown up with.

ISABELLE BUTERA: For members of Gen Z, Taylor Swift has been producing music for literally our entire lives. According to the marketing research website Audiense, about 40% of Taylor Swift listeners are between ages 18-24. Taylor Swift’s debut album came out in 2006, when most current college students were not yet in kindergarten. Or, as Moore puts it:

BROOKLYN MOORE: You know every word to every song. She sings songs that I listened to when I was eight and it just brings you back.

ISABELLE BUTERA: Taylor Swift begins The Eras Tour March 17 in Glendale, Arizona. She’ll perform three shows in Chicago at Soldier Field from June 2 to 4. Ticketmaster and Taylor Nation have yet to announce any additional ticket sales after general admission sale was canceled.

ISABELLE BUTERA: Long story short, this is me trying … not to be jealous of everyone who gets to see Taylor Swift live.


ISABELLE BUTERA: From The Daily Northwestern, I’m Isabelle Butera. Thanks for listening to another episode of Podculture. The audio editor of The Daily Northwestern is Erica Schmitt, the digital managing editors are Joanne Haner and Olatunji Osho-Williams and the editor in chief is Alex Perry. Make sure to subscribe to The Daily Northwestern’s podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or SoundCloud to hear more episodes like this.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @isabelle_butera

Related Stories:
Liner Notes: Taylor Swift meets us at midnight with “Midnights”
Liner Notes: Taylor Swift begins again with “Red (Taylor’s Version)”
Q&A: Lindsay Utz talks Miss Americana, American Factory