Posted by: Amy | June 24, 2010

June 13 – Taylor Swift’s 13 Hour Meet and Greet Event, Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN

The most intriguing event on our CMA Fest agenda was Taylor Swift’s 13 Hour Meet and Greet scheduled for Sunday, the 13th. I was sure that the whole thing would be chaotic and involve camping out. I like Taylor, but not enough to camp out overnight in the heat. 🙂 As the week progressed, we got more details about how the event was being organized and it became more apparent that attending would not require camping on the sidewalk. Rachel and I both got raffle tickets from the Big Machine Records booth at the Convention Center on Thursday. We learned that the drawing for 50 pairs of wristbands to meet Taylor would take place on Saturday at 2:30. When Saturday rolled around, I was pretty wiped out and had taken the morning off from CMA Fest activities in favor of sleeping. When I finally made it downtown, it was time to be at the Convention Center for the drawing. Rachel was already downtown and at the raffle drawing, so I met her there. Unfortunately neither of our numbers had been drawn and we would have to try for wristbands at the actual event on Sunday. In the meantime, I invited my friend Christy’s 12-year-old daughter Tori to join us for the meet and greet event because she’s a big Taylor fan.

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After our fun night downtown at the BMI Songwriters’ show on Saturday, we met up with Christy and Tori who had been at LP Field for the nightly show. We took the shuttle back to the hotel and then Tori and I ran to Walgreens to buy supplies to make posters to take to the event. With the exception of a break for some late night Waffle House, we worked on the posters for probably three hours. By the time we finished, it was after 4:00 and I had to drive Tori back to her hotel and then come back to my hotel to try to catch an hour of sleep before we had to be at the arena for the doors opening at 7:00. Functioning on so little sleep proved difficult as the day continued, but we made it. Once we got inside, we walked around for a minute to check out the vendors and booths set up in the arena’s concourse. Then we found seats and tried to get more details about how the wristbands were being distributed. Inside the arena were two of Taylor’s 18-wheelers used on the Fearless tour, Taylor’s tour bus, props from the Fearless tour set and a full set up of the T Party green room that was set up backstage at each show. A video loop featuring several of the making of the music video shows, Taylor’s Saturday Night Live episode, Taylor’s Dateline NBC special and various other videos played throughout the day. Promptly at 8:00 Taylor came out and greeted the crowd and began signing autographs. Taylor’s mom Andrea was out and about talking to fans and recording fans with a video camera. We also spotted Taylor’s dad Scott. Later in the day, her dad was out in the crowd letting fans take pictures with Taylor’s sparkly guitar. From the seats we chose, our view of Taylor was obstructed because of her tour bus. When we got around to the other side of the arena later, we could see that Taylor was signing in front of her bus and that she was standing. She stood the whole time! Starting at 9:00 fans could send a text message to a number and instantly find out if they were winners of a pair of wristbands. The contest took place at the top of every hour. We weren’t winners during the contests at 9:00 and 10:00 and by 10:30, we were famished and wanted some food besides the hot dogs and popcorn being offered at the concession stands. The whole event was free and fans were allowed to come and go, so we walked around downtown until we found a breakfast buffet at an Irish pub. At 11:00 as we were finishing breakfast, we texted again. This time Tori won! We paid our bill and made our way back to the arena to pick up our pair of wristbands. When we got to the wristband table and Tori showed the guy her text, he asked how old she was. When she said that she was 12, he asked if she had a parent or an adult with her, I said that I was with her. When the guy asked if it was just us two, Rachel spoke up and said that there were three of us. Because Tori is a minor, she got two wristbands, plus a chaperone wristband, which worked out nicely because all three of us got to meet Taylor. It was probably 11:30 when we made it to the seats reserved for people with wristbands waiting to meet Taylor. The line seemed to be moving quickly and I really thought that we would meet Taylor before her scheduled performance at 2:00. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that there was a whole section of people in line ahead of us. The only moving that we did before Taylor’s performance was to move from one section to another. A little after 2:00, Taylor and her band took the stage, which was set up in the middle of the arena. She played a four song set and took time to walk around and touch fans’ hands and thank everyone for coming. I think that she was genuinely surprised by the turnout. I read later that it was estimated that 10,000 fans saw her performance.

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Following a 45 minute interruption in signing, Taylor was back and was hugging fans and taking time to chat with every person. I think that she was enjoying the day just as much as all of us fans were. After the performance, things seemed to be getting into a steady rhythm and the people in the rows in front of us were being called back a row at a time in 10-15 minute intervals. Right before it was time for our row to be called, things slowed again. We had to wait almost 25 minutes from the time the row in front of us left to the time that we were called back. Once we were up and moving, we took an elevator down to the ground level of the arena and waited in line for probably 20 more minutes. We finally met Taylor at 5:45. It was worth the wait. She is such a genuine person. We all got hugs from Taylor when we first walked up to her. The first thing that I said to her was, “War Eagle!” She said, “Aww! I LOVE Auburn!!” Auburn University is where she made a surprise appearance to meet the guys that started the Hug from Taylor Swift website. I thanked her for doing that and for being so great with her fans. She really is a wonderful person. I don’t think that there is anyone nicer in the music industry! I know that some people criticize her voice, and I agree that she’s not a powerhouse vocalist. But, she’s so much more than that. She’s a great songwriter. She plays guitar. She’s a great businesswoman who is involved in all aspects of her career. She’s a visionary; she planned the stage and had final say on everything related to her tour. And, she’s a great performer. She has a great stage presence. She’s also a wonderful role model for young girls, unlike some other stars that tweens and teens like. I wish that I could’ve talked to her for ten minutes because I just wanted to tell her how awesome she is and thank her for being so appreciative and so grounded, especially at 20 years old! Alas, we only had a few minutes. She actually said to us, “Thank you so much for waiting so long to meet me!” As if she were in disbelief that anyone would wait to meet her. After getting autographs, we posed for a group picture and got another “thank you” from Taylor and then our turn was over. Meeting Taylor has made me an even bigger fan and I will continue to support her and wish her all of the luck in the world. It’s nice when good things happen to good people!

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Taylor’s Set List

  • Our Song
  • Fearless
  • You Belong with Me
  • Love Story

A huge thank you to Taylor and kudos to everyone who organized and worked at the event. Everything was well-organized and it was so cool to have such a huge FREE event for fans!

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Here’s the whole photo album.


Responses

  1. Girl, i had so much fun with you. I am glad you invited me to go. I had so much fun- and it was worth the wait! She was so sweet(:


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