The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Taylor Swift Column: Returning the scarf (Matilda’s Version)

Taylor+Swift+Column%3A+Returning+the+scarf+%28Matildas+Version%29
Olivia Moon

Big Reputation:

Taylor Swift was named Spotify’s most-streamed global artist of the year, surpassing Bad Bunny’s three-year streak and reaching more than 26 billion streams.

Swift and Travis Kelce, Kansas Chiefs tight end are official! Swift and Kelce were seen embracing and kissing after a show in Argentina, shortly after Swift had sung “Karma” and changed one of her lyrics to “Karma is the guy on the Chiefs, coming straight home to me,” referencing the famous football player.

A new English class at Harvard titled “Taylor Swift and Her World” is set to begin in the Spring semester of this year. The class follows many new college courses involving the popular singer and will compare Swift’s lyrics to the likes of William Wordsworth, a famous poet who helped launch the Romantic Age of English literature.   

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A new era of concert etiquette

The stage was set to perfection last week in Rio de Janeiro for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour — or so we thought. The Christ the Redeemer statue was wrapped in a projection of a T-shirt from Swift’s “You Belong with Me” music video. Brazilian fans were ecstatic for the five-day Swift frenzy: some even camped outside the stadium days before at the possibility of getting a ticket. However, a predicted heat stroke forced the night into a dark turn of events, revealing a story of neglect and disorganization.  

The triumphant Eras Tour went international in August of this year, beginning in Mexico before traveling to Argentina and Brazil. The first in a series of freak weather was met in Buenos Aires, Argentina when a storm forced Swift to reschedule one of her shows. 

Then weeks later sweltering heat with record-breaking temperatures turned the Nilson Santos stadium in Rio de Janeiro into a microwave, the heat index peaking at 139.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Fans were prohibited from bringing in their personal water bottles due to safety concerns, resulting in nearly 1,000 people fainting. Throughout the show, Swift made efforts to get fans water, even throwing a bottle into the crowd herself. 

Sadly, 23-year-old fan Ana Clara Benevides suffered a heart attack while in the show and was brought to a hospital, where she later died. Benevides was described by family as a smart and happy girl, set to graduate with a degree in Psychology next April. She was a dedicated fan who had been saving up to attend the concert for months. Weiny Benevides, her father, said in an interview that “she left home to fulfill a dream and came back dead.”   

The tragedy shook Swifties, who took to social media to express their outcry, claiming not enough was done to protect concertgoers from the extreme heat. The Brazilian government launched an investigation into the company Fun Time event organizers, and Swift postponed the following show out of concern for her fans safety. 

She later expressed her condolences to the Benevides family on Instagram saying, “I can’t even tell you how devastated I am by this. There’s very little information I have other than the fact she was so incredibly beautiful and far too young.”

 

When Sunday came around, Swift had negotiated to make sure that fans could bring in their own bottled water, postponed the start time until the temperature had cooled further and required extra medical personnel and box fans within the venue. 

Despite all this, I believe Swift is still partially at fault. Postponing the show would have been the smart decision, and the one that could have saved a life. At the same time I understand not wanting to disappoint fans, considering how no one predicted the extent in which the heat would affect people. The loss clearly struck her and she responded as appropriately as I believe she could. 

Mostly to blame is Fun Time, the event organizers, who likely forwent extra precautions to make profit, when the tragedy could have been easily prevented. By addressing this issue in future concerts, I hope we can give the Benevides family some of the justice they deserve. This is not just an unfortunate accident. This is a systematic failure. 

Concerts are supposed to be a shared celebration of music, life and art. But when thousands of people pack together in one space, someone is bound to get hurt. The infamous Travis Scott Astroworld concert in 2021 stands as a stark reminder of this. The multi-day event quickly turned deadly after crowd surges left nine dead and hundreds of others injured. The concert venue was organized in general admission, meaning fans were free to view the performance from wherever they wished. Mostly this meant packing as closely as they could to the stage. A lack of security, medical response and sectioning ultimately lead to the deadly crowd surge.

In Swift’s circumstance, general admission was not an issue, but the point still stands: in order to avoid more concert deaths we need to have a standard of safety across all event organizers. For example, having a chair for every person attending instead of packed crowds near the stage. Fans — who are already paying a pretty penny to be there — should not have to wonder whether they will leave alive when attending a concert. Benevides should not have died in order to teach us this lesson about concert safety yet again.    

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Matilda Haney Foulds, Staff Writer

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