Lifestyle

Fans spend big at Melbourne merch pop up


“Every now and then I just put a little bit in there,” she says, while showing off her $250 haul, including a navy crew neck and Eras Tour pullover.

Maddie Onley (left) and Olivia Licciardi (right) arrived at the pop-up in matching 1989 cardigans.

Maddie Onley (left) and Olivia Licciardi (right) arrived at the pop-up in matching 1989 cardigans. Credit: Penny Stephens

Her friend, 18-year-old Olivia Licciardi, says she isn’t usually a big spender, but Swift was the only celebrity she would make an exception for. “We anticipated what the prices would be like, but the Eras Tour only happens once.”

For many Swifties, merch sales are also a chance to expand existing collections. Both Onley and Licciardi began collecting Swift’s cardigans when the singer released reproductions of the one she wore in the Cardigan music video in 2020. They missed out on the cardigans released for Swift’s original albums; however, they managed to secure those released in honour of Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) and 1989 (Taylor’s Version), the latter of which they wore to the pop-up.

Meanwhile, 23-year-old Atara Thenabadu has bought a tour T-shirt and programme at every Swift concert she has attended since the age of 12. Her sister, Arianna says part of the T-shirt’s appeal, regardless of the price, was the pride she associates with it.

Atara Thenabadu (right) and her sister Arianna (left) trying on their merch at the Crown pop-up.

Atara Thenabadu (right) and her sister Arianna (left) trying on their merch at the Crown pop-up. Credit: Penny Stephens

“You kind of get bragging rights when you wear it walking around after the concert. Especially with this tour because it was so hard to get tickets,” Arianna says.

However, the pop-up could be the closest some Swifties get to The Eras Tour. Ten-year-olds Ruby Gill and Kiara Galea have so far failed to secure tickets, but will try again on Tuesday afternoon when additional tickets go on sale.

Ten-year-olds Ruby Gill (left) and Kiara Galea (right) are still hoping to secure tickets to The Eras Tour.

Ten-year-olds Ruby Gill (left) and Kiara Galea (right) are still hoping to secure tickets to The Eras Tour.Credit: Penny Stephens

“We really want tickets. I would die if I got them. If it was all the way in Japan, I’d go,” Galea says. “She inspires people so much with her music.”

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To make up for their bad luck so far, the girls’ parents booked a spot at the pop-up so that they could each pick up a black Eras Tour jumper and beige T-shirt. Gill, whose birthday is in eight days, was hoping for a birthday miracle in the form of tickets.

“If I get to go, I’d wear something for Lover because that’s my favourite album,” says Gill, who was already dressed in a Lovers-style multicoloured shirt.

About 20,000 fans reportedly tried to book a spot at Crown’s merch pop-up, meaning roughly 17,000 will have to find their merch elsewhere.

Two pre-sales will take place at the MCG on Wednesday and Thursday from 10am to 6pm. Merch will also be available at the Melbourne venue from midday on show days.

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