Attention Chicago Swifties: the show you’ve been waiting for is just a few days away. But you already knew. What you may not know, however, are all the ins and outs of seeing a show at Soldier Field.
“The final countdown to Taylor Swift’s three-night foray into Soldier Field is finally upon us,” a stadium news release said Wednesday. “Taylor Swift will perform to sold-out audiences at Soldier Field all three nights (June 2, 3 and 4),” the statement continued, adding that Swift’s “The Eras Tour” is one of “the most anticipated musical events in 2023”.
In stadiums across the county, those musical events have yet to disappoint fans, despite torrential rain and security concerns. And as more than 60,000 Swift fans descend on Soldier Field each night, not including the parents and rideshare drivers who drop off and pick up the thousands of concertgoers, here’s how it’s all expected to play out.
TAYLOR SWIFT TICKETS SOLD OUT
Every night of Swift’s three-night residency at Soldier Field is sold out, the stadium says. According to Soldier Field officials, the stadium currently seats 63,500 people. And while it’s the smallest NFL stadium in the nation, it’s significantly larger than Chicago’s other big stadiums.
For example, Wrigley Field, where Bruce Springsteen, Dead & Company and Fall Out Boy will play later this summer, has a capacity of 41,649. The United Center, where Aerosmith will play in September, seats 23,500.
However you look at it, the show and the area near the stadium are expected to be packed.
TRAFFIC IN CHICAGO FOR THE CONCERT
Sure there will be.
“Guests can experience heavy traffic at certain times,” Soldier Field says. In addition, various construction projects in and outside of Chicago may cause additional congestion and delays, including construction of the Kennedy Expressway, as well as ongoing resurfacing and lane closures along DuSable Lake Shore Drive.
PICK UP ASSISTANTS AT THE STADIUM
There will be designated drop-off and pick-up locations for parents and chaperones arriving at the stadium, Soldier Field notes. Here’s a breakdown:
Showgoers can be dropped off at the 18th Drive Turnaround, just west of the Lake Shore Drive 18th Drive exit ramp. However, due to heavy traffic, officials suggest dropping fans off on Columbus Drive or Michigan Avenue and then having them walk to the museum campus.
For post-show pickup, officials say the parent/guardian/rideshare driver reunification will take place on Columbus Drive between Roosevelt and Balbo, beginning at 10:30 p.m.
“We encourage parents and chaperones to use this area to quickly meet up with family and friends,” the Soldier Field statement said.
“Drivers can use the alphabetical signal markers to provide identifiers to guests. Stadium security and parking staff will be present to provide a safe and orderly operation.”
In addition, stadium security will be on site to “provide a safe and organized operation.”
Both Soldier Field and city officials are strongly encouraging ticket holders to use public transportation and arrive early.
OPENING OF SOLDIER FIELD AND PARKING LOTS
On each day of the show, merchandise sales outside the stadium will begin at 12:00 p.m. at four locations, Soldier Field says. Parking lots open at 2:00 pm and exhibit doors open at 4:30 pm.
The show is scheduled to start at 6:30pm, with openers OWEN and Girl in Red on Friday and Saturday, and Grace Adams and Muna on Sunday.
According to the stadium, Swift will take the stage around 8:00 p.m., with a set that will last at least three hours.
If you haven’t purchased a parking spot at Soldier Field for the show yet, you’re out of luck.
“Parking lots are currently sold out due to advance parking sales,” Soldier Field says. However, some nearby lots may have spots available.
McCormick Place Lot B, Millennium and South Grant Park garages will be open, and Millennium Park Garage will offer a shuttle to and from the stadium. The shuttle will pick up fans at Lower Randolph and pick them up at Metra Stairs 18 between 4:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m.
However, Grant Park South, Grant Park North, and Millennium Lakeside Garages will not offer shuttle service.
WHAT CAN YOU BRING TO SOLDIER FIELD?
Soldier Field adheres to the NFL’s bag policy, which limits the size and type of bags allowed in stadiums.
Only bags that are “clear plastic, vinyl, or PVC and not to exceed 12″ x 6″ x 12,” says the NFL. “No buckles, grommets/hardware or decoration may conceal any part of the bag.”
In other words: the bag must be literally clean.
Banners will be allowed, Soldier Field says, but they cannot exceed 24 inches x 24 inches.
BEWARE OF FAKE TICKETS
Buyer beware, says the Better Business Bureau.
While many tickets offered for sold-out shows like Swift’s may be legitimate, others are not, warns BBB President and CEO Steve J. Bernas.
“One of the first things to do ahead of time is to watch out for fake websites.”
“You don’t want to show up at the gate after waiting months and paying hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars only to find out your ticket is fake,” he said.
Make sure you buy from a verified seller and use your credit card for any purchase as it offers the best fraud protection of any payment method.
“There are countless ways consumers can find tickets online, with online marketplaces, ticket sellers, scalpers, and unfortunately some are scams,” Bernas adds.
According to Bernas, buyers should use “extra caution” when buying tickets sold on online marketplaces like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.
“Buying tickets on these sites from people you don’t know is akin to buying tickets in a dark alley,” Bernas said. “Scammers have a knack for providing realistic tickets and fake receipts.”
Additionally, Soldier Field is asking those without tickets to refrain from coming to the stadium.
“Those without tickets are strongly discouraged from coming to the Soldier Field campus,” the Soldier Field statement states. “No part of the show will be visible and the acoustics of the stadium do not provide any audible quality outside of it.”
WILL THE CELEBRITIES BE PRESENT?
While Hollywood stars, athletes and musicians have been spotted at Swift’s previous shows on tour, it remains to be seen who might appear at upcoming Chicago shows.
There’s good news, though: One who may not be welcome at Soldier Field has already put on a show at their new home arena in Foxborough, New Jersey.
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