A 21-year-old Swiftie is currently waiting outside River Plate Stadium in Buenos Aires, having spent the last five months in a makeshift tent. The sound of a mixing truck can be heard through the thin fabric, and nearby ants are hoping for a snack to fall to the ground. Despite spending many afternoons at the encampment with fellow Taylor Swift fans, the individual prefers to remain anonymous due to not wanting her father to know. To cover her tracks, she tells her father that she’s either at a park drinking mate or visiting a friend who lives near the stadium while juggling a part-time job and college classes.
Numerous fans are sharing the same level of devotion as Taylor Swift’s with regards to her upcoming performances in Buenos Aires, which begins on November 9 as part of her Eras Tour’s Latin American leg. These fans have been occupying four tents outside the stadium and taking turns at carefully planned intervals. The majority of these campers possess general admission floor tickets, and their objective is to be as close to the stage as possible when the show begins. An internal spreadsheet has been created by two organizers and updated by the assigned administrators to keep track of around 60 individuals per tent. Most of them are young women, but no one under the age of 18 is permitted to participate. The ranking system used for gathering everybody’s total time indicates that the longer an individual has been in a tent, the better their chances of being among the first in line. According to Carmen, a fan, she has spent over 300 total hours, or 12 and a half days, in the tents.
The Eras Tour has not only stimulated the economies of the places it visits, but it has also motivated many Swifties to take extreme measures. A number of them have sued Ticketmaster and Live Nation for their supposed unlawful business practices. Others have gathered in parking lots near American stadiums during shows in search of community, even without admission tickets. Some fans who were unable to obtain tickets have even queued for hours near the venues just to purchase merchandise.
In Argentina, Swifties take their love for Taylor Swift to the next level. These dedicated fans are committed to sleeping in tents outside the concert venues, even enduring public criticism and disruptive soccer fans. Some fans have been camping out for days before tickets went on sale just to secure a spot. While some groups received media attention, most fans have stopped giving interviews, and there is a strict no-recording policy in place. The camping fans have a code of practice where they can only spend time in the tent when they are free, and no one is mandated to neglect their responsibilities. The group’s internal rules benefit those who are willing to go the extra mile, although no one is required to stay in the tent 24/7. One fan named Irina says that the fact that there are so many people makes things easier, and they fit their schedules around each other. Her mother is okay with her camping as long as she doesn’t fail her college tests.
In June, a set of guidelines that outline incentives for camping enthusiasts were leaked online and quickly became viral. These guidelines stipulate that camping during a storm earns double hours, while rain and drizzle do not count. Additionally, spending an entire night camping grants double hours. To maintain one’s position, participants are obliged to spend at least one night of sleepover every month and fulfill a minimum of 60 monthly hours. However, these regulations have been met with criticism from non-enthusiasts who question the practicality of such an endeavor. Common questions include “Do you work?” “Do you study?” and “Do you shower?”, with insults such as “vagos” (meaning lazy ones in slang) being hurled at the campers.
According to Carmen, some individuals seem to have a problem with our camping activities. At times, we are rudely awakened by strangers screaming at us to go to work at odd hours of the night. It’s bewildering because they’re the ones screaming while we’re just trying to sleep on the street. We’ve also had to deal with various concerns such as adverse weather conditions and safety issues, particularly during soccer games. Stadium disturbances are not uncommon, and when large groups of fans attempt to enter without a ticket or when celebrations get out of control after a significant win, the police often have to intervene.
Even though the tents are situated on the side of the street, they are still visible to the general public 24/7. All four of them are located right next to a locked gate which is owned by a horse-riding school called Club Hipico Argentino, situated next to the stadium. Fans use this gate as a support pillar for their ropes. They prefer to place something underneath the tents during rainfall to prevent water from getting inside.
As far as safety is concerned, the police are usually friendly. They place a row of fences around the tents during match days for extra protection, and there is usually an officer on guard duty as well. They advise fans to stay inside the tents until the crowds have dispersed, and not to allow any outsiders in. Soccer enthusiasts occasionally shout at the tents, but no significant disturbances have occurred yet. Initially, they referred to the Swifties as “mufa,” which means jinx in slang, but they would cheer and express gratitude towards them if their team won.
Acampo x vos, the X account owned by Debora and Sofia, offers a unique service to fans who cannot wait in line for events themselves. The duo has been camping for concerts since 2014 when they attended One Direction’s show in Vélez Sarsfield Stadium. Over time, they began offering their services to others, and earlier this year, they officially started their business. The two charge approximately $700 Argentine pesos an hour, along with any travel expenses incurred. Despite the relatively low cost, it should be noted that Argentina is currently suffering from hyperinflation. The duo has a few regular clients and hopes to continue growing their business in the future.
According to conversations with Swifties, they have adapted to their new way of life in recent months. Fans tend to use a nearby convenience store and gas station as their regular stops for bathrooms, hot water refills, and quick bites. Some resourceful individuals have even managed to order delivery to their tents. To pass the time, fans engage in various activities such as studying, creating friendship bracelets, and socializing. Due to limited Wi-Fi access, people have taken the opportunity to make friends with others who share similar interests such as Irina and an anonymous Swiftie who have created memories together and attended Taylor Swift themed events at bars and other meeting locations when not resting in their tents.
As the shows draw near, fans are experiencing a mix of anticipation and nervousness, with only a week to go. Carmen finds the situation amusing, jokingly commenting on how she doesn’t like the idea of having so much free time after spending hours inside a tent making friendship bracelets. She wonders how she’ll adjust to being a “normal person” again.