The doors to Lincoln Financial Field technically opened at 4:30 p.m. last Friday, three and a half hours before Taylor Swift would launch her first of three consecutive, sold-out Eras Tour shows here in Philadelphia, but for many fans (and their parents) in attendance, those doors opened days, months, even years earlier than that. Because being (or raising) a Taylor Swift fan is an all-encompassing, time-transcending experience.
The sweeping premise of the Eras Tour—which spans the many albums and “eras” of 33-year-old Swift’s career, which began in Nashville when she was 16—became an opportunity for young attendees to dress up as their favorite musical or aesthetic moment from the Swift canon, referencing the myriad music videos, inside jokes, and niche Swiftie lore that fuels the fandom. Die-hard fans started documenting their Eras Tour outfits on TikTok—and some have been dressing up their Swiftie dads, too. Where there were once bored dads at a One Direction concert, these were ecstatic dads at a Taylor Swift concert.
In Philly, the legions of guardians both dutifully chaperoning and proudly accompanying their kids to this experience had already logged untold hours and dollars between them. Weeks spent hoping to score tickets after Swift’s 52-date national tour sold out on Ticketmaster so quickly back in November, it became a calamity seismic enough to racket the issue up the ranks of the U.S. judicial system. Countless hours spent listening to Taylor songs on the drive here from near and far…and during daily carpool singalongs en route to school, soccer practices, and piano lessons. Years spent loving Swiftie partners who then helped raise Swiftie kids. Some even made the long-haul journey here without tickets, because their kids were glad to just “be breathing the same air” as their favorite artist on the planet. Swift—who was born in West Reading, Pennsylvania, about 60 miles northwest of Philly—greeted 67,812 people inside the Linc that Friday, though thousands more ticketless fans (some estimate 10,000 to 20,000) posted up outside the venue to listen in. On Twitter, Swift said it was a dream to play “three nights in the stadium I used to see on TV when my dad watched Eagles games every Sunday.” Time, curious time.
Parking lots outside the stadium opened even earlier to tailgaters, who began gathering on the asphalt around noon to grill, craft and exchange beaded friendship bracelets, and play pump-up Taylor songs on this hot, late-spring day. Weary but unbowed, the Swiftie dads jammed along; others sought out shady patches of grass or sat inside idling their SUVs with the AC on as temperatures crept into the 80s. A few fathers who didn’t make it inside smoked stogies in the parking lot while the sun started to set, waiting for ride-home duty to commence.
Scroll on to survey the scene, and meet some of those Swifties and their Swiftie dads, at the first night of Taylor Swift’s Eras tour in Philadelphia.