New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium was transformed into a sea of glitter, cowboy hats, and fringe on Friday, marking the kickoff of Taylor Swift’s three-day music extravaganza. The expected turnout of a quarter-million enthusiastic fans over the weekend has triggered traffic warnings and led to a surge in ticket prices.
The New Jersey Department of Transportation forewarned a potential vehicular influx, especially around East Rutherford, over the weekend, affecting major routes such as the New Jersey Turnpike, Routes 495, 3, 17 and 120, the vicinity of the Lincoln Tunnel, and the area surrounding the George Washington Bridge.
Swift’s soaring popularity ensured that ticket prices on VividSeats.com remained well above $1,000 each, despite last-minute price reductions. Some lucky fans managed to secure a few last-minute seats that opened up through Ticketmaster just as Friday’s concert was commencing.
Among the diverse attendees was Patty Schablick from Kinnelon, New Jersey, who joined the celebration with her daughters, citing it as a special bonding time before her eldest daughter heads off to college. Schablick and her family were accompanied by Tiffany Fairchild and her daughter, who had jetted in from San Diego, California, especially for the concert.
Meanwhile, Middletown resident Sal Rinaldi was among a group of fathers chaperoning their daughters, while simultaneously savoring the music and food. According to Rinaldi, their group consisted of 27 daughters altogether.
Despite MetLife Stadium’s pleas for fans without tickets to refrain from visiting, its parking lots were awash with hundreds, possibly thousands, of fans, some of whom had traveled via the New Jersey Transit train, while others had driven in.
The nearby American Dream mall was a hub of pre-concert activity, with its “Tour Next Door” events, a sweepstakes, a DJ, karaoke, and Taylor Swift-themed photo ops. The mall’s promotional activities boasted a “fashion journey” encapsulating Swift’s unique and bold style.
Swift further fueled the excitement by announcing the release of her new song “Karma”, featuring Ice Spice, as part of a new “Til Dawn” deluxe edition of her “Mightnights” album, exclusively available to concert-goers at MetLife.
The overwhelming response to Taylor Swift’s performances is not unique to New Jersey; earlier this month, thousands of ticketless fans had gathered at South Philly’s Lincoln Financial Field to soak in the concert ambiance.
Concert-goers have multiple transportation options for the remaining shows. Stadium lots open at 12:30 p.m. each day, with parking fees ranging from $40 per car to $160 per oversized vehicle. Coach USA Bus Service and NJ Transit offer alternative means of reaching the venue. Strict security screenings are in place, with restrictions on bag size and type.
Swift’s Eras Tour, which began on March 17, continues through Aug. 9. After her New Jersey stint, the pop star is set to bring her magic to Chicago.