Taylor Swift’s first big project of 2020? Lover Fest, her self-produced, festival-style tour slated to kick off in June (Messina Touring Group will promote). Fourteen dates have been announced, and the artist lineup is still in the works. “I haven’t really done festivals in years — not since I was a teenager,” says Swift. “That’s something that [the fans] don’t expect from me, so that’s why I wanted to do it.”
Lover Fest is a new twist in Swift’s touring strategy. While the 2018 reputation stadium outing was the highest-grossing U.S. tour of all time — $266 million in revenue across 38 stateside shows, according to Billboard Boxscore — Swift has announced only four Lover Fest dates in the United States. But if she’s leaving potential millions on the table, she’s also keeping fan interest high by deviating from a formula.
“People want new experiences — to connect to their favorite artists in new ways,” says CID Entertainment founder/CEO Dan Berkowitz, whose company will co-produce Luke Bryan’s Crash My Playa destination event in Mexico in January. “Any artist playing the same 40 venues every single tour is just going to get boring to their fans, even if their show is changing.”
Lover Fest is the latest in a growing number of artist-curated festivals, ranging from Post Malone’s Posty Fest to Travis Scott’s Astroworld to Tyler, the Creator’s Camp Flog Gnaw. “Fans are willing to travel to attend events that are an extension of an artist’s personality and music,” says Berkowitz. Lover Fest will build on that model, playing larger venues (like the 70,000-capacity SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles and the 65,000-capacity Gillette Stadium outside Boston) in multiple locations, rather than existing as a one-time event.
But Swift has always prioritized personal touches, no matter the size of her show, from nightly surprise guests to one-time-only performances of early tracks. The on-brand opening acts, Instagram-ready visuals and overall attention to detail common to other artist-curated festivals should be present at Lover Fest, too. “[I want to] challenge myself with new things and at the same time keep giving my fans something to connect to,” says Swift. With Lover Fest, it seems she’ll be able to do both.