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When fandom gets wholesome: Why are bracelets a must for Taylor Swift concerts?

What's with the bracelets at Taylor Swift concerts?
What's with the bracelets at Taylor Swift concerts? Copyright Getty Images - Twitter (X) @crumblingcait13
Copyright Getty Images - Twitter (X) @crumblingcait13
By David Mouriquand
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Fandom just got wholesome. Here's why Taylor Swift fans are making bracelets for the Eras Tour...


I recently found out that I’ll be going to see Taylor Swift live next year.

No mean feat, considering how skull-stompingly difficult it is securing a stub, especially without financially bankrupting yourself, but I had help from a friend and colleague who is a far more dedicated and diligent Swiftie than I am. I was winging it, naively hoping that I might get to see her live for the first time by happy accident. My friend, on the other hand, was prepared to unleash Swiftageddon if those tickets didn’t make it into her online shopping cart.

She was right, as the stress of getting a ticket has led to five stages of grief for many, chiefly due to the ludicrous Ticketmaster hoops you have to jump through in order to nab a spot.

“They should have to take a quiz before getting in the digital queue,” she exclaimed. “I refuse to be overtaken by 13-year-olds spending mummy and daddy’s money!”

I backed away slowly at this point.

“By the way, we need to make bracelets.”

Sure, why not. I like bracelets. I wear them. Could be a fun weekend activity one of these weekends.

“No, you numpty. For the gig. Don’t you know that the latest thing is trading bracelets during the Eras tour?”

I was tardy to the party on this one.

After all, it can be tricky keeping up with the latest trends, especially when it comes to fanbases who have their own shorthand, language and codes when it comes to celebrating the artists they love. Sometimes it feels a bit cliquey, exclusionary or even desperate. I tend to stay away from it all.

I like Taylor Swift’s perfectly calibrated brand of pop music, I’m very curious to see her live and witness what all the fuss is about, but I’m hardly au fait with the Swiftie craze du jour.

And apparently incapable of not crowbarring in some French in my sentences.

However, when told about what the Swiftie fandom were up to, I couldn’t help but swoon a little.

Let me explain, now that I’m all clued up.

The trend at the moment is fans of Taylor Swift crafting homemade friendship bracelets and trading them at concerts during her ongoing Eras Tour. While no concrete rules have been established for what these bracelets should look like, it seems that fans typically favour coloured or lettered beads, which allows them to spell out messages – usually references to Swift’s songs or albums.

It’s become quite the online sensation, which many collecting as many as possible or trying to swap bracelets with some of Swift’s entourage.

But what’s behind the trend?

Somewhat predictably, the origins of this gig-going phenomenon can be traced back to one of Swift’s songs: ‘You’re on Your Own, Kid’ from her 'Midnights' album.


The lyrics go:

’Cause there were pages turned with the bridges burned
Everything you lose is a step you take
So make the friendship bracelets
Take the moment and taste it
You’ve got no reason to be afraid

Yes, it’s not particularly deep, but who cares when it produces an initiative as cute is this? These bracelets may look they were made by children during a a particularly wholesome summer camp, but they feel like a balm in difficult times - especially for crestfallen Lizzo fans who aren’t doing too well right now.

Apparently, the process of swapping bracelets is not hard and requires minimal prep.

You make or buy bracelet(s). You wear bracelet (or bracelets) to the gig you were lucky enough to get tickets for. You meet fellow Swifties, marvel at their wristwear and establish non-creepy contact by gifting or trading a bracelet.


Wholesome community feel ensues.

Even celebrities have been getting in on the action, including Jennifer Lawrence, The National’s Aaron Dessner, and Nicole Kidman:

So, when you look back the sanity eroding trend of eating Tide Pods or take into consideration the new viral TikTok craze of the Borax challenge, which consists of ingesting powdery laundry detergent to make your skin look better (seriously, how are we not extinct yet??), this feels like something we should all get behind. Even if it’s hardly new, as the EDM community has been doing this bracelet sharing malarkey for a while by trading handmade “Kandi” to come together and show PLURR (Peace, Love, Unity, Respect, and Responsibility).

Which leads me to think that this could be taken to the next level.

Why aren’t we doing this for other concerts? The National fans could bring lemonade and share it when the crowd when they play 'Lemonworld'; Red Hot Chili Peppers aficionados should be instigating a Hot Ones-style trend of chomping on some... do I need to elaborate further? And just you try to stop me from buying an iguana and smuggling it into the next Iggy Pop gig and allowing fellow fans to have a cheeky pet at my newly adopted herbivorous scamp.


Actually, scratch all of that – the drinks would get everywhere, the chilis would doubtlessly provoke uncontrollable hiccupping, and Tonto would just get deafened by the decibel levels. Poor fictional Tonto.

Making and sharing bracelets remains a lovely way to enhance a concert experience, connect with fans, and forget about the bitter pill to swallow when it comes to the **dizzying bureaucracy spiralling dangerously out of control,**meaning that half a monthly rent can get you non-VIP tickets to one solitary sodding gig.

“So, are you buying the beads or shall I?” my friend queried.

I'm less rich now I've got a ticket, but I’m getting the supplies. “F*ck Ticketmaster” shall be the first message adorning my wrist, a bad blood call to action to burn the ticketing industry to the ground – all wrapped up in an honourable bangle package. 

Vive la Tayvolution!

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