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Swiftie Weekend: Cincinnati Review

First and foremost, I’m proud of the city of Cincinnati for pulling this weekend off. Never in my wildest dreams would I have expected this weekend to go as well as it did.

Second, I’ve attended 3 of the bigger events in Paul Brown/Paycor in the last several years. I was present for both playoff wins, as well as the second T-Swift night; I can confidently say that the crowd was considerably louder for T-Swift than it was for the Pratt INT, or the Hubbard-yard dash. It was honestly just cool to sit back and watch that many people just be happy together.

Taylor Swift is an icon, she may not mean much to you, but to many people she means so much to their mental health and just a key contributor to their lives. I know that her music has really helped my wife get through some of the hardest years of her life, and I continue to hear more and more stories about how she impacts people in positive ways. If it’s not your thing, I get it, but to all of the people making it a point to comment on local news stations social media posts that they “don’t care” or telling them to “actually report news”, you cared enough to c

omment, which means you care. You likely don’t understand the draw, but your comments prove you care. To the “actually report news” crowd, this was news, and many in the Cincy area thought that this would be a rough weekend, and didn’t know if there would be traffic issues/crime/other problems resulting from the massive crowds, so this was the big local news story for the week.

Thanks for listening to me complain; I was downtown Friday/Saturday/Sunday this week. Friday we drove downtown, and even with the massive amounts of people, there were enough police officers out to make sure everything was moving fluently. Saturday and Sunday, I parked in Covington and walked ~15 minutes across the Roebling and didn’t have any traffic at all. Saturday, the Banks was set up really well, I think I waited 10 minutes in line for a drink at most, and the crowds weren’t overwhelming. The only complaint I have is that my wife wanted to get into the stadium as early as possible, and standing in the line to get into Paycor was absolutely awful. They had a barricade set up about 100 yards from the gates, which is understandable, but it was a ticket checkpoint, and there were only 2 or 3 people checking so it was very slow, that combined with the heat made for a rough hour or so, but I’d imagine if we had come later it would have been no issue at all. Once into the stadium, there were plenty of workers who were easy to find who were great about helping everyone get to the correct sections.

To Taylor herself, thank you and your entire crew for choosing to stop in Cincy, it was a chance for the city to step up and prove that it can handle big events such as this one. I believe that Cincy showed it could. Also, thank you for moving the concert up an hour and getting everyone out before the weather turned. I watched storms roll into the area as we walked back to the car after the event, so that was great planning on that part. Taylor herself even made up for it by giving the crowd some crazy firsts. Aaron Dessner coming out to play Ivy for the first time ever live was cool enough, but Taylor also brought out Gracie Abrahams (opener who didn’t get to play because of moving things up) out to the stage and they played together for the first time ever. Another thing that personally made me have more respect for Taylor more was the fact that she played one of Gracie’s songs, I’m sure it was at least somewhat planned out, but that was still a great gesture from her part. Finally, Swifties got a third surprise song in the acoustic set, which hasn’t even been done before. Taylor really helped the city prove that they can be a giant concert venue with her two shows this weekend, but I believe the crowd really helped announce to all artists that stopping in Cincy is worth consideration.

Now, on a different note, the city was the #1 trending destination in the country at one point last week on AirBNB, that’s a huge boost all around, yes most of that is from the concert, but it’s still notable. I monitored hotel prices for the past ~ 6 months because I was thinking about staying downtown Saturday night, hotel prices that were within walking distances were outrageous, and the lack of affordable hotel rooms needs to be addressed, and the only way to address it is to build more. I heard that there were charter buses coming in from Dayton/CBUS/Lexington because it was cheaper than the very limited hotel options here.

However, I do believe that this proves what was being said during the world cup bid process, that the infrastructure needs some help before we consistently host major events, but I don’t believe that it’s as poor as we think it is. The events back to back nights in Paycor held what a world cup game would have held, and while things were more expensive, it worked, charters from CBUS/Dayton/Lexington are a possible solution to help with housing, but that would be more of a short-term solution for things than long-term fix. Investing in expansion of the street car, increasing the amount of hotel space, and probably improving Paycor some are required to be able to consistently host events of this nature. I don’t believe that we should pivot to a dome, I like the elements being involved for football season too much to build a dome, but I would like to see improvements made to Paycor without having to raise taxes and make Cincinnatians pay for it. There’s a solution that could be worked out to improve Paycor, and I’m sure it’ll come soon enough, but first, you have to pay Joe.

Now, regardless of if you’re a fan of Swift’s, FCC’s, or the Reds, you have to understand how big of an economic impact this brought this weekend, from the companies all the way to the regular workers, being this busy means more money flowing top to bottom. This weekend was estimated previously to bring in ~100 million that wouldn’t have been brought in without the concerts. That kind of money, even if it comes once a year is enough to really help push the Cincy economy upward and make the area as a whole more economically stable long-term. These kind of weekends not only help with the boost of cash, but I feel like it motivates the city to try to keep pushing forward with upgrades and putting more money into the city to help wit

h infrastructure and even just bringing more large scale events into the area.

With this weekend being successful, could it be motivation to have other big concerts come to the area? Of note, I know that Harry Styles and Morgan Wallen didn’t come here for their stadium tours, it could be an opportunity for Cincinnati to become a concert destination for big names.

From a CBB standpoint, we don’t have the facilities to host NCAA tournament games right now, but with some upgrades to heritage bank, is it possible that the area could start hosting some games? We all know how much CBB means in this area of the country, it could be a boost from that standpoint as well.

Finally, I’m a Swiftie, not in the same way I like other artists, but from my wife, I know a lot of her music; now that I’ve witnessed a show live, I can honestly say I understand why people pay 10K to go, she puts on a hell of a performance and the fact that she performed 45 songs over like 3 and 1/2 hours is a physical and mental feat that many can’t understand. She had my respect and fandom before this weekend, but I’m a bigger fan now because of her performance and impact on large groups of people. I tweeted saying it’s akin to a religion on Saturday, and honestly, it really is; the Swiftie fans are on another level of passionate.

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