Earlier this summer, Taylor Swift kicked off the Eras tour in Glendale, Arizona. The stadium buzzed with anticipation as the singer launched into a career-spanning performance that stretched across more than 40 songs in three hours. In that crowd, Peyton Beyer, a long-time Swiftie, bore witness to the first show of what is now on track to become one of the biggest tours in music history. And that was just the start. In the three months since, she’s seen that same show play out 19 more times at different shows across North America.
“Once we had the pandemic and I knew that she wasn’t touring for a bit, I started saving money to go to a lot of shows,” Beyer tells Rolling Stone. “I never planned to do this many, and people laugh when I say that — I didn’t. I’m not naive to say, ‘I was only ever going to do two, and I ended up actually going to 20.’ I thought maybe I would do nine or 10 when she first announced the dates.” (Rolling Stone reviewed Beyer’s ticket stubs and personal concert photos to confirm the number of shows she attended.)
The 27-year-old’s Eras tour experience did, in fact, begin fairly tame. When the initial presale launched in November — the same one that had other Swifties taking legal action against Ticketmaster after the website crash just minutes in and the general on-sale was canceled — Beyer strategized a ticket-buying plan with a group of seven friends. Collectively, they managed to snag seven sets of tickets. She says that across the eight of them, they had signed up for 50 different Ticketmaster accounts to maximize their chances. “It was a lot of work that went into it, but definitely also some luck,” Beyer adds.
After attending around six shows, Beyer started posting content from the tour on her TikTok account, which boasts 6,200 followers and over 521,000 likes. In the comments beneath her posts, other fans expressed disbelief, and oftentimes envy, that she was able to attend multiple shows while they struggled to find tickets to one.
Most of the tickets were acquired sporadically. Tickets for two shows were given to her for free by friends who had won a contest and invited her as their plus-one. Three others were obstructed view seats which, because of their location behind the stage, meant they were only $70 a piece. She would also often scour Twitter and Facebook groups for people selling tickets or snag them during Ticketmaster’s last-minute drops in the days leading up to the shows. For some, she was as close as the second row from the catwalk. At others, the nosebleeds were just fine. Across all 20 shows she attended, Beyer says she never had to pay more than face value to get in the building.
Plainly put, and contrary to what the people in her comment section might believe, she didn’t take anything away from anyone else to attend these shows. “In reality, there’s no way to guarantee that the ticket I ‘took’ would go to another fan. It could easily go to scalpers who are just gonna resell them for an insane amount of money,” Beyer says, referring to the accusatory claims made towards her by other fans.
“A lot of them I got from friends or someone who knew someone who knew someone. If I hadn’t taken it, it would have just kept going down the line of what friend or acquaintance was going to accept it. It’s very unlikely it would have ended up with usernumber5397 on TikTok,” she adds. And when she could, she stepped up for fans she didn’t even know. “Three of the six nights [in Los Angeles], we ended up with an extra ticket and just found someone outside that was sitting there and were like, ‘Hey, do you want a ticket for face value?’”
Still, Beyer feels as though some part of the concert experience was tainted for her when she let more people into her Summer of Swift. “It used to be a fun point of conversation to talk to people about how many you were doing on the tour, or how many times you’ve seen someone overall,” she says. “For example, if I’m in Seattle, I can’t even tell someone I’m coming tomorrow, let alone that I’ve already been to 15 … I can’t say how many I’m doing because I don’t know how if they’re gonna give me the same type of defensive reactions that I would get on a TikTok post.”
Beyer also highlights the common misconception she has seen in response to her posts, which is that she dropped an absurd amount of money on the tour. Sure, she spent a good chunk of change, but she says people assume she spent far more money than she actually did. Between 20 concert tickets, eight roundtrip flights, and hotels in every city, she estimates her total spending to be around $5,000. It would have been closer to $9,000, she says, but credit card points and airline miles with Delta and Southwest — in addition to splitting accommodations with multiple other friends — significantly knocked down her total.
She also benefited from Swift’s weekend-only show schedule. Throughout the summer, Beyer only took one day off from her tech job. With a hybrid schedule that allows her to work remotely on Mondays and Fridays, she arranged her days around whatever timezone she was in and often took Thursday night red-eye flights into the different cities, worked from where she was for a few hours, then headed to the show.
And it was easy for Beyer to rationalize her decisions by viewing the tour as both an opportunity to see Swift and catch up with long-distance friends who live scattered across the country. “Once I went to the first show, and I realized how insane of a show this was, and how much fun it was to be there with all of my friends who were just as big Taylor Swift fans as I was, I think that’s when I realized I was going to end up doing more than I ever planned on,” she says. Then, as the singer began to announce more Taylor’s Version album recordings, like Speak Now and 1989, Beyer wanted to be there for those big reveals.
As a Swiftie who has attended each of Swift’s tours since 2011, Beyer couldn’t imagine missing the biggest and most celebratory one yet. But her willingness to go the distance — literally, her tour stops included Detroit, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Santa Clara, and more — stems from her pop fandom more generally. “I’ve been going to shows forever, and I literally started flying around the country to go see One Direction when I was like 16 years old,” she explains. “This is not my first time.” But she says she didn’t get the same negative reactions when she flew to London to see Ed Sheeran six times last year or when she and her friends attended eight shows on Harry Styles’ Love on Tour.
“If the artist doesn’t care, why are the fans caring? Taylor has mentioned multiple times at the shows that she knows people are going to a ton and putting in a ton of effort to be there. So why are the fans upset about it?” she asks. “I’ve been seeing her literally for over a decade.”
Countless friendship bracelets and 40 surprise songs later, Beyer still isn’t slowing down. Her Eras crew already has plans to attend eight more shows in the upcoming year, including stops in London and Paris when Swift embarks on the tour’s European leg. “I prioritized this tour and hanging out with my friends in this context,” she says. “We could do a trip for a week in Europe for all of the money we spent, or we could go and do two weeks in Cabo for all of the money we spent — but instead, we decided to go to all these Taylor shows.”