Welcome to Swift City: When Taylor Swift comes to town, businesses build new bars, prepare thousands of cookies, and welcome over 150,000 Swifties
- Taylor Swift's highly anticipated, record-breaking "Eras Tour" kicks off Friday.
- Glendale, Arizona, which hosts the first two dates, has renamed itself Swift City in her honor.
Welcome to Swift City, population 250,000 — plus over 100,000 Swifties.
Usually, it's known as Glendale, Arizona, but the city hosting the kick-off 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 doesn't cost the taxpayers," Mayor Jerry P. Weiers of Glendale 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's sure to be fun, but it's a lot of work: An estimated 150,000-Swiftie swarm means local businesses are stocking extra ingredients, bringing on more staff, and planning themed events.
Swift's tour is already record-breaking, selling over 2 million tickets on Ticketmaster alone the first day they were available. Now that Swifties have faced hours-long queues, hefty resale prices, and the twists and turns 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 it hosted the Super Bowl last month. This time around, fans are enchanted to see the singer, songwriter, and director kick off her first tour since 2018, and local businesses are preparing for an influx of Swifties. It's a microcosm of the huge economic power that the estimated $570 million Swift business wields.
"The beginning of The Eras Tour puts the City of Glendale in the national spotlight again a month after Super Bowl LVII," Weiers said. "We are expecting more than 150,000 Swifties to visit our sports and entertainment district for meals, the concerts, and a hotel room."
Morgan Milardo, the managing director of the Berklee Popular Music Institute, which focuses on the touring industry, told Insider that the influence of concertgoers perusing little businesses, like thrift stores, was "just huge."
"It just really positively impacts the local economy," Milardo said. "In addition to all the concertgoers, these huge tours, they oftentimes are amazing spectacles and incredible productions, and it requires local support from local unions and production vendors."
Booked out hotels, brand-new bars, and thousands of cookies
While concertgoers may not want to stray from the entertainment district to hit a dive bar on the east side, local eateries near the stadium are preparing for the influx of Swifties — and ready to quench their thirst.
Then Burger, which is all booked up, is hosting a pre-party and moving furniture out to accommodate more people. It's setting up a satellite bar and ordering more alcohol. Expect some custom Swift cocktails and playlists. It'll also have more servers and hosts working.
"I'm excited for it to be busy and excited to make money," Kayla Bybee, a host at Then Burger, told Insider.
Meanwhile, Crumbl Cookies in Glendale is ensuring its fridges are full and will stay full throughout the weekend. Chyna Murphy, its manager, said that it would have more workers than usual and was gearing up to sell thousands of cookies.
During a recent Carrie Underwood concert, Crumbl sold about 1,500 cookies in one day, Murphy said. It's anticipating selling between 3,000 and 5,000 cookies during Swift's weekend.
"It takes a lot for us to prepare, but we always have it under control," Murphy said.
Danielle Dutsch of the Glendale Convention and Visitors Bureau said there were "a ton of people here." Hotels are at capacity, restaurants are bustling, and Glendale is anticipating a lot of foot traffic.
"We've got folks that will travel far and wide to see Tay Tay," Dutsch said. "It's just mind-blowing to know this amazing woman can come and help us from an economic-impact standpoint by just being here."
Dutsch herself is feeling the trickle-down effect of Swiftmania: During her lunch breaks and late nights at the office, she's heard Swift practicing in the nearby stadium.
On the day the tour was announced, in the fall, the Holiday Inn Glendale sold out, according to a representative. But it's stocked and prepared, the rep told Insider. The Super Bowl and years of Arizona's peak tourism season were good practice. TownePlace Suites in Glendale has been booked out since about the start of March, according to a worker. The people calling in for reservations now are too late.
The Hampton Inn & Suites in Glendale is also booked solid from Friday to 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 rooms remaining — for $1,500 a night.
Usually, a room there will run you about $300 to $400, Tony S, who works at the Renaissance, said. The Swift-adjusted rates are comparable to the prices at the hotel during the Super Bowl, which were in the $1,600 range, according to Tony.
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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