Meet the Extremely Dedicated Tailgaters of the Taylor Swift Concert

It’s surprising how man people showed up early to the Taylor Swift concert Saturday night at the Pepsi Center. For most of these rabid fans, preparations for the event started a long, long time ago. Most bought tickets to the show, which ran Saturday and Sunday, months in advance. Others said they paid nearly $2,000 for two seats on the secondary market. But the real surprise is how far some Taylor Swift fans were willing to travel for the concert.

Sisters Diandra and Sariah Gonzales drove all the way from Albuquerque, arriving in Denver nearly a full day early – just in case. The pair said they spent the day checking out Denver and even met Denver Broncos players Virgil Green and Danny Trevathan at Sports Authority Field. If you’re going to travel for twelve hours for a concert, you’ve got to save money somehow, so the sisters made their own shirts.

Sisters Mia and Jada Hicken spent eight hours traveling from Park City, Utah, with Shawni Bradley and their moms to see Swift’s massive show, despite the fact that the concert ran in Salt Lake City on Friday. Was it worth it? Absolutely, according to Mia. “Taylor is just the best,” she says. “Other celebrities feel like they have to dress trashy, but she stays classy.” Bradley summed up the sentiment of a lot of people at the show: “Anything for Taylor,” she says. “She’s an inspiration. Any teenager can relate to her.”
Corey Bradley and his wife, Alex, met up with friends Caitlin Armendariz and Sebrina Acosta in New Mexico for the trip to Denver. The group came from all over – Carlsbad, Socorro and Albuquerque – in a car they said just barely held together and might not make it home. “We started out with one warning light on,” said Armendariz. ”Now we’re on four. At least we made it here.” Their signs refer to a lyric Swift sings that some fans misunderstood as “Starbucks lovers” but is actually “got a long list of ex lovers.”

Susan Bunce brought her daughter all the way from Las Vegas for the concert because the tour didn’t pass through their city. Since the pair have family in Arvada, they said it was the perfect opportunity to get together and see their favorite singer perform.

Although they didn’t come as far as some others, Joslyn Mundell and her daughter, Tylah, of Kersey went to extremes nonetheless for a chance to see Swift’s concert. Their seats, only three rows from the stage, cost them exorbitant prices on the secondary market. The concert was a birthday present for Tylah, who turned 15 in May.
Taylor Swift's show is a massive undertaking. Seven RVs and some thirty tractor trailers, all adorned with Swift’s face, filled most of one section of the parking area at the Pepsi Center. A group of teachers from Denver used the trailers as a backdrop for a group photo. One teacher, Abby Cary, said six of her students were also attending Saturday’s show.

Tailgating for a Taylor Swift concert isn’t the sort of rowdy affair some pre-parties are. This group from Loveland brought sandwiches, Twizzlers and Fresca and had a picnic in the parking lot.

Paul Tomlinson and his daughter Eva couldn’t get tickets so they decided to take their chances in the parking lot. Tomlinson said he was willing to pay up to $250 each for good seats. “I’ve had an easier time getting Grateful Dead tickets,” he said.
Not everybody waiting for the show was there with a teenager. Dave Dohaan said he wasn’t sure if he’d be able to see Swift in the future since he was unable to get tickets for two past shows. “I said I’d pay up to $350 to see Taylor, and I did.” 
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Oakland Childers has been a music journalist since he was sixteen.