Are you ready for it? What to expect from the Eras Tour

Posted in: Economy, Feminism, Wellbeing

Taylor Swift has a dramatic impact on her fans in a variety of ways, as Dr Annayah M.B. Prosser will examine in her contribution to upcoming book The Psychgeist of Pop Culture: Taylor Swift, edited by Rachel Kowert. In this post, Annayah explores how the Eras Tour is likely to be a profound experience for the UK, at both an economic and psychological level.

After almost 100 shows across five continents, Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour has finally reached UK shores. The tour has been a global phenomenon since it kicked off in March 2023, and presents a gargantuan three-hour-long showcase of the 11 different ‘eras’ (albums) of Taylor’s career to date.

With recent changes to her set to include latest album ‘The Tortured Poets Department’, hype around the tour has never been higher.

Sparks fly

Starting with the good news: the Eras Tour has provided a boon to every economy it has visited, with some estimates that the UK leg of the tour will boost UK spending by up to £1 billion. This will also provide a much-needed boost to the UK’s music scene, which was decimated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

With many smaller venues closing due to lack of funds and government support, such as Bath’s much-loved local venue, Moles, the Eras Tour could be a chance for the UK to re-establish itself as a leader in live music and large events.

This benefit comes with a disadvantage, however. UK venues rarely see an artist this big in attendance, and this could mean troubles with transport in the lucky cities she visits. In particular, Cardiff’s Principality Stadium was mired with controversy when Ed Sheeran fans struggled to get to and from his tour dates in 2022.

In contrast, Liverpool – famed as the home of The Beatles – is turning itself into ‘Taylor Town’ for the tour dates taking place at Anfield Stadium. The University of Liverpool is also hosting Tay Day: Liverpool’s Version, a one-day conference on Swift as a cultural phenomenon.

How UK venues handle the Eras Tour will be an opportunity for them to shed these negative views or entrench them even further on the global stage.

Wildest dreams

On a psychological level, it is not an exaggeration to say that events like this can be life changing. My previous research, published in Nature Human Behaviour, examined five secular mass gatherings in the UK and US – including Burning Man and Latitude festivals – and found that people often came away feeling ‘transformed’.

The study demonstrated that these transformations also impacted people’s prosocial or helping behaviour. People returned from the events feeling more generous and connected to wider society – and these changes lasted for many months.

While our research studied multi-day events, we also see similar stories coming out of the Eras Tour, with stories of fans’ generosity and connection likely to sweep the news in the coming weeks.

There is also some anecdotal evidence of transformation, with some fans having an experience so profound that they forget the event altogether afterwards. Psychologists suppose that this is due to the overwhelming emotions throughout the event, and the strong sense of connection felt by audiences. For many, attending the Eras Tour truly is ‘the best day’, and may result in a personal ‘epiphany’.

If you’re attending, make sure you go easy on yourself afterwards, and take time to recover from what is likely to be an incredible experience.

The story of us

New Bath research also shows that events like this are also especially important for those who are marginalised within wider society. While being a Taylor Swift fan is far from uncommon (she is Spotify’s most-streamed artist of all time, after all), we unfortunately still live in a world where sexism and misogyny are rife.

Swift’s work has centred the feminine voice and experience since her debut, and much of her music addresses her experiences of sexism directly.

My upcoming paper demonstrates that ‘identity-centring events’ can provide a sense of reinvigoration and rejuvenation for marginalised groups. Being surrounded by people with similar interests and values – for example, fans being surrounded by fellow Swifties – can be important avenues for reducing burnout and improving mental health.

Eras Tour audiences are largely female, which may be a pleasantly jarring experience in stadiums that have long been dominated by men. This may provide a comfort to women and girls in the audience, reminding them that they are not alone in their thoughts, feelings and experiences when society often tells them otherwise.

‘Long story short’, while you may think the Eras Tour is ‘nothing new’, it is clear these concerts will leave both fans and the UK economy invigorated. Until then… lights, camera and smile!

Posted in: Economy, Feminism, Wellbeing


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