- Taylor Swift’s long-awaited, record-breaking ‘Eras Tour’ kicks off on Friday.
- Glendale, Arizona, home to the first two dates, was renamed Swift City in her honor.
- In Glendale, hotels are booked, businesses are opening more, and the cookies are flowing.
Welcome to Swift City, population 250,000 — plus over 100,000 Swifties.
It’s usually known as Glendale, Arizona, but the city that hosts the opening show for Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour” has fully embraced Swiftsanity, renaming itself Swift City for Friday and Saturday.
“One of my jobs is to promote my city by being a cheerleader. This ceremonial renaming of Glendale comes at no cost to taxpayers,” Glendale Mayor Jerry P. Weiers said in a statement to Insider. “And it shows we’re serious about our sports and entertainment district while having fun at the same time.”
It’s sure to be fun, but it’s a lot of work: A swarm of an estimated 150,000 Swifties means local businesses stock up on extra materials, hire more staff and plan themed events.
Swift’s tour is already a record, selling over 2 million tickets on Ticketmaster alone on the first day they were available. Now that Swifties have dealt with hours-long lines, high resale prices and the ups and downs of trying to get tickets to spring’s hottest tour, they’re ready for it — and to spend their money.
Glendale is no stranger to big events. You may remember that he hosted the Super Bowl last month. This time, fans are excited to see the singer, songwriter and director embark on her first tour since 2018, and local businesses are bracing for an influx of Swifties. It’s a microcosm of the enormous financial power wielded by Swift’s estimated $570 million business.
“The start of The Eras Tour brings the city of Glendale back into the national spotlight one month after Super Bowl LVII,” said Weiers. “We expect more than 150,000 Swifties to visit our sports and entertainment district for meals, 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 influence of concertgoers attending small businesses like stores has been “just huge.”
“It really positively affects the local economy,” Milardo said. “In addition to all the concertgoers, these huge tours are often amazing shows and incredible productions, and it requires local support from local unions and production vendors.”
You booked hotels, brand new bars and thousands of cookies
While concertgoers may not want to stray far from the entertainment district to hit up a dive bar on the east side, local restaurants near the stadium are bracing for the influx of Swifties — and they’re ready to quench their thirst.
Then Burger, which is all booked up, throws a pre-party and moves furniture outside to accommodate more people. He sets up a satellite bar and orders more alcohol. Expect some custom Swift cocktails and playlists. It will also have more servers and hosts running.
“I’m excited to be busy and excited to make money,” Kayla Bybee, host at The Burger, told Insider.
Meanwhile, Crumbl Cookies in Glendale is making sure their coolers are full and will stay full all weekend. Chyna Murphy, her manager, said she would have more workers than usual and is preparing to sell thousands of cookies.
During a recent Carrie Underwood concert, Crumbl sold about 1,500 cookies in one day, Murphy said. She expects to sell between 3,000 and 5,000 cookies during Swift weekend.
“It takes a lot to prepare, but we always have it under control,” Murphy said.
Danielle Dutsch of the Glendale Convention and Visitors Bureau said there are “a ton of people here.” Hotels are at capacity, restaurants are busy, and Glendale expects a lot of foot traffic.
“We have people who will travel far and wide to see Tay Tay,” Dutsch said. “It’s amazing to know that this amazing woman can come and help us financially by being here.”
Dutsch feels the trickle-down effect of Swiftmania herself: On lunch breaks and late nights at the office, she’s listened to Swift practice at the nearby stadium.
The day the tour was announced in the fall, the Holiday Inn Glendale was sold out, according to a spokesperson. But it is stocked and prepared, the spokesperson told Insider. The Super Bowl and Arizona’s peak tourist season years were good practice. The TownePlace Suites in Glendale has been closed since about early March, according to an employee. People calling for reservations now is too late.
The Hampton Inn & Suites in Glendale is also booked solid Friday through Sunday, as are Home2 Suites and Tru by Hilton. Meanwhile, at the Renaissance Phoenix Glendale Hotel & Spa, you might be able to secure one of the few remaining rooms — for $1,500 a night.
Typically, a room there will run you about $300 to $400, said Tony S, who works at the Renaissance. Swift-adjusted rates are comparable to hotel rates during the Super Bowl, which ranged from $1,600, according to Tony.
In the Renaissance, we “welcome” Swiftis, said the Renaissance worker.
“Now, Glendale is Swift City, so we welcome them with open arms,” he added.