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On Friday morning the people of Orange went old-school on Taylor Swift tickets, and it paid off

June 30, 2023

First in line. (L-R): Rebekah Sammut, Rebecca Williams, Ella Williams and Emily Williams. Barry's vacant seat in background. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

By Peter Holmes

Sometimes old-school works best.

Like, say, when you’re desperate for tickets to Taylor Swift’s 2024 Australian tour.

On Wednesday morning pre-sale tickets to Swift’s The Eras Tour were released, and some 800,000 people on four million devices wanted a piece of the action.

Hundreds of thousands of people were left disappointed as there simply weren’t enough TayTay tix to go around.

The general sale of tickets began Friday morning at 10, and instead of taking their chances electronically, dozens of people in Orange chose to go analogue by queueing outside the Ticketek outlet in the foyer of Orange Civic Theatre.

For those of a certain vintage, it recalled lining up at Mitchell Bass outlets in the 1980s. [Bass was an acronym for Best Available Seating Service.]

First to arrive, at about 12:30am Friday, were Rebekah Sammut, Rebecca Williams, Ella Williams and Emily Williams.

Waiting, waiting, waiting... Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

Rebekah, Rebecca and Ella had been working late at North Orange Woolworths. Emily had finished a shift at her job in Forbes.

From 12:30am to about 4am they sat in a car on Byng Street. At this crucial juncture surveillance was key. It was 1C, and they were fine to stay in the car as long as nobody else turned up.

At 4am another car pulled up. A man was inside it. We’ll call him Barry.

“It was just our little group of four, and when [Barry] arrived we ran like crazy people,” said Sammut. “Someone else is here - run to the door!”

Barry, it turned out, was meant to be at work, and when our photo of the four women was taken, he removed himself from the background.

Waiting, waiting, waiting... people trying to book tickets online were met with a screen refreshing every 10 seconds.

The queue began to grow as daylight edged closer, and by about 8am there were about 50 people in it. Many were well prepared, with camp chairs, beanies, ugg boots, snacks and hot drinks.

Friends and family of those patiently waiting made food and coffee drops.

At 9am the queue moved from outside to inside. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

Sammut, 30, said she hadn’t queued the old fashioned way for tickets since she was 21. That was for a concert by Illinois rock band Fall Out Boy in an intimate venue in Sydney, and she lined up 24 hours before the tickets were put on sale.

To pass the time on Friday morning she made a short video about sitting in line. It didn't take long for a TV network to ask if they could use it, such was the demand for Swift content.

She also brought a marker pen to write numbers on people's hands as they joined the queue, so everybody knew exactly what was happening.

Nobody tried to muscle in?

“Not since they heard we’ve been here since midnight - no-one’s game!”

The sign on the entry to the Orange Civic Theatre. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

At 9am the doors to the foyer were opened and the crowd made an orderly entrance. It was humanity at its finest.

At 10am the ticketing booths opened. The four women all scored tickets.

At 11:48am the promoter Frontier Touring issued a statement saying all shows in Sydney and Melbourne had sold out, but that some VIP packages remained. The people of Orange had done it vintage-style, and it had paid off.

Swift will earn tens of millions of dollars from the February tour. Tickets were priced from about $80 in the nose bleeds to $380 for closer to the stage.

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