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Jacqueline Wake Young: Swifties showed me how world could be as we did Taylorgating in Edinburgh

Taylor Swift fans who couldn’t get tickets for The Eras Tour at Murrayfield instead enjoyed the Edinburgh gigs outside the stadium, aka Taylorgating.

Taylor Swift brings her sold-out Eras Tour to Murrayfield in Edinburgh.
Taylor Swift brings her sold-out Eras Tour to Murrayfield in Edinburgh.

My daughter has had to go without Taylor Swift tickets and I’m just hoping she doesn’t end up leader of the Conservative Party.

You never know what these small disappointments will lead to in later life.

Rishi Sunak told reporters he was deprived of Sky TV as a child. And look what happened to him.

Dodgy career choices and a cashmere jumper habit to feed.

Ostracised at Winchester College for missing Premier League matches and shunned at Oxford for not watching the latest episode of The Simpsons.

A picture of Rishi Sunak is attached to an aerial dish in Whitehall in reference of the hardship he faced while growing up without Sky TV. Image: Amer Ghazzal/Shutterstock.

In his interview with ITV News, the prime minister revealed the extent of the deprivation he faced growing up.

However, he stopped short of admitting he had to watch the wrestling through Curry’s window.

Had he done so, I might have felt some affinity with him because I did something similar at the weekend when Tay-Tay came to town.

And you know what? It was marvellous.

The sort of wrestling scenes the prime minister had to go without when he was growing up. Image: Shutterstock.

Taylorgating Taylor Swift at Edinburgh was our back-up plan

Late in my year-long Taylor Swift ticket quest, I discovered it’s all the rage to enjoy The Eras Tour from outwith the stadium gates.

There’s a name for it, Taylorgating, where ticketless fans turn up with picnics, camping chairs and blankets.

In response, it’s said Taylor makes sure her sound system is set up to cater for those outside as well as inside.

Fans on the steps of the tram station at Murrayfield, with one flight kept clear for people who move around. Image:  Jacqueline Wake Young.

With phones and laptops still fired up and searching for tickets right until the last minute, we made Taylorgating our plan B for Edinburgh.

Sure, there was a depressing moment when we arrived Murrayfield and finally had to accept we were Never Ever Getting (Back) Together with our friends inside the stadium.

Then I realised we were in good company with all those other ticket-free Swifties who had made the pilgrimage to Edinburgh anyway.

Fans wait to enter Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh, ahead of the first night of Taylor Swift’s UK leg of the Eras Tour on Friday June 7. Image: Ryan McDougall/PA Wire.

We travelled down after a delightful listening party at HMV on Union Street, arriving in the capital half an hour before Taylor took to the stage.

This was good timing because I don’t know how we would have felt watching other fans, including our friends, go through the turnstiles while we remained outside.

Fans unite in Taylorgating

I got talking to a mum from Aberdeen who had taken the train with her young daughter to do a spot of Taylorgating and was now wondering if it was such a good idea.

That morning her friends had managed to snag four tickets, leaving her and her little Swiftie behind.

I’m sure I detected a tear in her eye as we both wondered if the trip had been a mistake, but then something wonderful happened.

Taylor Swift takes to the stage in Edinburgh to roars from the crowd. Image: Jane Barlow/PA Wire.

A huge cheer went up as Taylor took to the stage and a tangible sense of bonding and camaraderie rippled throughout the crowd outside.

In scenes reminiscent of Woodstock, hundreds of Swifties held hands and formed a huge ring-a-roses circle in the park behind Murrayfield.

Everywhere fans were up on their feet, singing and dancing, all thoughts of six-hour virtual queues on Ticketmaster and AXS a distant memory.

Music fans wearing friendship bracelets watch Taylor Swift in Edinburgh. Image: Jane Barlow/PA Wire.

For more than three hours, it was a vision of the world as I would like it to be. Peaceful, good-natured and fun.

Even the tram stewards were decked out in glitter and pink. And, rather than officiously move us on, they allowed hundreds of Swifties to perch on the station steps to enjoy the concert.

The fun police were nowhere to be seen while the real police officers traded friendship bracelets and joined in with the dancing.

Music fans watch Taylor Swift perform on stage while outside, the party continued. Image: Jane Barlow/PA Wire.

Taylor is the brains behind the bracelets

This didn’t happen by accident. Make no mistake, this is Taylor’s doing.

She has fostered goodwill and kindness among her fans and the bracelet swapping comes from a one-line lyric in her song You’re On Your Own, Kid.

It’s a simple gesture, and yet it has broken down barriers, served as an ice-breaker and made young people interact with each other in person again.

Taylorgating starts to wind down at Murrayfield as the rain draws in and the concert nears its finale. Image: Jacqueline Wake Young.

Above all, it has created a community that is respectful, kind and optimistic.

With 4.3 million tickets sold, and thousands more Taylorgating, that’s a sizeable chunk of society.

Ms Swift may have single-handedly turned 2024 into a new summer of love.

Rishi Sunak, and every other party leader for that matter, would have such popularity and influence only in their Wildest Dreams.

Taylor for prime minister! Tay-Tay looks every inch a boss at her Murrayfield gig. Image: Jane Barlow/PA Wire.