More fans go all out for Taylor Swift tickets, undeterred when told to leave malls: 'I skipped class'

Gabrielle Chan and Dillon Loh
The Straits Times
Jul 6, 2023

Fans of American singer Taylor Swift who had been queueing at SingPost outlets inside malls were told on Thursday they had to leave when the premises close.

At Woodlands Civic Centre, a queue formed outside the mall after those queueing inside were told by SingPost staff to leave.

At about 8pm, there were about 40 people queueing outside the mall.

Two students queuing at Hougang Mall said SingPost staff told them that when the mall closes, security guards would get them to queue outside the building.

At Northpoint City in Yishun, SingPost staff said members of the public had been asking about buying concert tickets.

The SingPost staff said they told them that they would have to leave the mall when it closed at night. There were no queues outside the mall at 7.30pm on Thursday.

This was hours before Swift’s concert tickets go on general sale at noon on Friday.

Hundreds of fans have been queueing at SingPost outlets islandwide since Wednesday afternoon.

Fans queueing outside the SingPost outlet in Bukit Panjang on July 6, 2023. Photo: The Straits Times

Only those who received an access code can buy tickets from SingPost. Access codes were sent to selected individuals who registered for the general sale.

The Straits Times spoke to more than 30 fans across 12 SingPost outlets on Wednesday and Thursday in areas like Bukit Panjang, Ang Mo Kio and Tampines.

First in line at the queue outside Woodlands Civic Centre was Mr Leroy Ng, 31, and his girlfriend, Ms Shermaine Lee, 29, who had arrived at 5am on Thursday.

Mr Ng said at around 4 pm, Ms Lee and around 20 other fans were asked by the mall’s management staff to move outside the mall.

Mr Leroy Ng, 31, was first in line outside Woodlands Civic Centre after mall management told fans to move outside. Photo: The Straits Times

One of the students at Hougang Mall, Gabriel Boo, 18, who had been queueing since 1pm, said SingPost staff told them at 8pm to find their own spots to queue when the building closes.

He said: “We were told we would have to comply with security. It is my first time queueing for tickets, and I skipped class for this.”

Fans Gabriel Boo (left) and Joy Kwok, who are first in line for Taylor Swift concert tickets, eating their dinner as they prepare to camp overnight outside Hougang Mall on July 6, 2023. Photo: The Straits Times

A SingPost spokesman told ST that the public are not allowed to queue at outlets located within malls. This is because tenancy agreements with the malls generally do not allow any tenants to operate outside the mall’s opening hours.

She said: “If anyone would like to queue at our post offices that are located within malls, they can head to the post office once the mall is open.”

For outlets located outside malls, the process was simpler.

National University of Singapore student Nathanael Lim, 21, was queueing at Block 203 Toa Payoh North at 2.10pm on Thursday, 22 hours before tickets were sold. He said he was queueing for himself and three friends.

Pulling out some snacks, a portable charger and fan, a Nintendo Switch game console and a toothbrush, he said: “It is going to be a long night.”

Another student, Lim Shijie, 17, who had bought tickets during Wednesday’s pre-sale, went to SingPost’s Serangoon Gardens outlet on Thursday, where he had been queueing since 11am.

Lim Shijie, 17, along with his girlfriend and friend, queued up since 11am on Thursday at SingPost’s Serangoon Gardens outlet to buy Taylor Swift tickets. Photo: The Straits Times

Tenth in line, he said he and his girlfriend had used 10 devices on Wednesday to buy four tickets for his girlfriend and her family, but wanted to get eight more for his friends.

Mr Lim said: “I am confident of my chances. I am not queueing 24 hours for nothing.”

Several group chats – used to discuss queueing strategies and to post updates on SingPost queues – were set up on messaging platform Telegram.

They had up to 15,000 members each, who have been constantly updating which outlet is the most crowded.

According to the group chats, there were queues at every outlet by 1pm.

20-year-old Ng Wan Xin and her boyfriend queuing up for Taylor Swift tickets in Bukit Panjang. Photo: The Straits Times

At the Bukit Panjang outlet, Ms Ng Wan Xin, 20, and her boyfriend were sitting on a mat with some snacks and games. They had been there since 8am on Thursday.

When asked what would happen if she cannot get tickets, she said: “I don’t even want to think about it.”

Ms Ng Wan Xin and her boyfriend brought a Nintendo Switch, books and downloaded six movies on their mobile devices to watch to pass the time while waiting in the queue. Photo: The Straits Times

Cleaning assistant Cass Tey, 45, who was queueing at the outlet at Ocean Financial Centre at Raffles Place for her 16-year-old daughter, said she took leave to get tickets.

She said: “My daughter cried when she did not get tickets, and I could feel her pain when she said all her friends got tickets, and she did not.”

On Thursday, SingPost announced on social media the chances of buying tickets were very low beyond the 30th position in the queue. This was due to overwhelming demand and based on SingPost’s past experiences in popular concert ticket sales.

Swift, 33, will perform for six nights – from March 2 to 4, and from 7 to 9, 2024 – at the National Stadium as part of her Eras Tour.

Tickets cost between $108 and $1,228. Pre-sale tickets were sold out within three hours on Wednesday.

At around 11pm on Thursday, the seating chart for Swift’s concert was updated on the Ticketmaster website.

Three new categories of seats with side views or restricted views have been added, and they are priced between $88 and $248.

  • Additional reporting: Rebekah Chia, Christine Siow, Suzanne Chan and Ashley Chin

The Straits Times

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