Taylor Swift eagerly awaited in Europe

(Brussels) When two Taylor Swift fans organized parties dedicated to the American megastar in bars in the Netherlands two years ago, the owners grimaced, doubting that she would be successful with a trendy public.


Posted at 7:04 a.m.

Raziye Akkoc

France Media Agency

“They were not on our side at all,” recalls Alexa Fischer, 25. “They were so embarrassed to host a Swift party that we couldn’t even put their names on our social media,” her friend Femke van Splunter told AFP.

But the event was a resounding success. The 200 tickets are sold out in one day.

Eighteen months later, bars are vying for the duo to organize “Swifties” evenings, as the singer’s fans are nicknamed. No one is now unaware of the extent of the phenomenon in Europe, where the singer-songwriter begins the next stage of her tour on May 9 in Paris. Eras record breaking.

The trigger for the first evening in 2022 was the release of the album Midnights. “A lot of people were excited, but we didn’t know where they were or who to promote with,” says Femke, 30.

“Judged, mocked”

Joana Lopes, a Portuguese fan, assures that the “Swifties” are used to seeing their cult belittled: the icon herself was mocked for lyrics which revolved a lot around her former lovers. “A few years ago, we couldn’t talk about Taylor without being judged or made fun of,” says Joana.

But fans from all over Europe, who wouldn’t miss the opportunity to see her in concert this year, reclaimed their sense of belonging in a series of interviews with AFP.

Alexa and Femke host an eclectic mix of groups on WhatsApp, one focused for example on tour videos while another is devoted to political discussions… Because what unites the “Swifties” goes well beyond music .

Taylor Swift’s lyrics are sometimes a Source of comfort. After losing her father at age 16, Alexa remembers finding support in a song about “Swift’s own journey dealing with her mother’s cancer.”

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PHOTO GEORGE WALKER IV, ASSOCIATED PRESS ARCHIVES

Taylor Swift

In Lisbon, Joana Lopes and her friend Ana Carmo, 29, are part of a WhatsApp group bringing together dozens of fans from across the country.

Joana remembers being helped by Swift’s music when her grandmother passed away. “That’s the day Taylor came into my life,” says the 33-year-old. His lyrics are “the thing I appreciate most”.

Fans “feel seen”

Swift makes her fans “feel seen”, summarizes Clara Garcia, 25, consultant in Brussels: “it’s a whole community” brought together by the riddles distilled by the star around hidden words or friendship bracelets which she brought back into fashion.

This is undoubtedly one of the keys to its immense success.

“Taylor deliberately created a community and positioned herself as someone who could be a friend to her fans,” says Georgia Carroll, a fan culture expert, who said Swift “has never been more popular “.

Listening to his music has increased by 50% in Europe on the Deezer application since April 2023, the month following the launch of his world tour, which has already become the most lucrative in history with $1 billion in revenue reached in end of last year.

According to Spotify data collected just before the latest album’s release in April, Swift is generating the most enthusiasm in the Netherlands, Portugal, as well as Belgium and Slovenia.

This appeal was not self-evident on a continent where few people have English as their mother tongue, but that is not a barrier for his fans.

“I listened to her songs and wondered what she was saying. So I started reading his words and translating them to understand,” recalls Joana Lopes.

Alessia Faranna, a 25-year-old from Brussels, assures that Swift has “helped her a lot” to improve her English.

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