Loud bass music rattled the glitter on the floor. Sparkly high heels jumped up and down. Women of various ages (but few men) chanted lyrics in unison.
The Taylor Party is a dance party like no other. The event, which has around 50 dates coming up nationwide, came to Reno’s Virginia Street Brewhouse on Nov. 10, and Swifties, or Taylor Swift fanatics, were ecstatic to attend this wonderland of a party.
“I’m here to have fun and dance my ass off,” said Jamie Clark, who has been a fan of Swift for 15 years.
“I have casually listened to her my whole life, but have gotten more into her in the past three months,” said Elizabeth Fletcher, a 19-year-old student at the University of Nevada, Reno. “I feel like she makes something that everyone can enjoy, with so many different genres.”
“This crowd is a pretty enthusiastic one,” said Nicky Clark, the host of the evening from JMAX Productions, as she explained what goes into planning the event. “The company that organizes these parties sends DJs out to different clubs. As a promoter, we operate different shows like this one—Shrek Rave, Emo Night, and Disco Party. They’re all part of a company that we buy the party from, so they send the people, and we find a place for it.”
The Taylor Party is an event by TSN Parties, a Pittsburgh-based company that is not officially connected with Taylor Swift or any of her business ventures. They have other events, too, like Western Dreamland: A Country and Disco Party; Ken’s Mojo Dojo Casa Rave; and Sapphic Factory. The Taylor Party was born after its Swiftie founder, Josh Bakaitus, threw a Taylor Swift-themed birthday party at a venue for his Swiftie wife. It was so popular that he started to make these events a regular occurrence.
“One day, Josh messaged me on Instagram and asked if I liked Taylor Swift and if I wanted to DJ at these parties,” said Allie Robertson, the DJ for the Reno event. “It was like this serendipitous thing, because I’m obsessed with Taylor Swift, and the other DJs are like the same type of people as me. It was this super-niche demographic for me that worked out so perfectly.”
Robertson has been amazed by Swift since the first concert she saw when she was 13 years old. Once she got into DJing during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, she learned that the profession included more than good musical taste: She needed to learn technical details so she could travel the country playing music for Swifties nationwide.
Robertson aims for high energy levels among the crowds by dancing like she would with her own friends. Since she is a part of the demographic to which the event caters, she knows how to play the songs she knows are perfect for Swifties.
“They would never just play ‘August’ or ‘Illicit Affairs’ in any random club, but I know Swifties would appreciate belting those out,” Robertson said. “The crowd of Swifties is way more engaged, because everyone already comes with this preconceived notion that they’re going to have a good time. Since Taylor Swift is so good at creating a strong fanbase, there’s this sense of comradery as people enter the venue.”
A model for empowerment
Members of this fandom often cite the relatability of Swift’s lyrics as a driving force behind their connection to her music.
“I feel like she speaks to a lot of real female experiences, and there’s a lot of empowerment to that,” said Cassie Stewert, a 29-year-old bartender. “She relates to a lot of people and makes us feel things.”
Others attended because they respond to the emotions Swift’s lyrics bring out.
“I was in a really bad first marriage when 1989 came out,” said Mai Floyd, a 31-year-old photographer from Sparks. “When I was in a low place, I would go drive and listen to that album on repeat. With the re-release, I’m trying to replace all those bad memories with good ones, just like Taylor Swift is doing now.”
Yet others admire Swift for her business sense—especially after she re-recorded her first six albums (four of which have so far been re-released), tagging each song she re-released as “Taylor’s Version” to regain ownership of songs to which she had lost the rights.
“She’s also a businesswoman—she knows how to do her shit,” said Amber McAllester, a 29-year-old sales rep, as she danced. “She’s very smart when it comes to marketing, but she also sees things that are wrong with the industry and stands up for herself.”
The Taylor Party has approximately 50 dates coming up nationwide. In Reno, an event called Enchanted Ball, part of the “22 & Good 4 U” event series celebrating Taylor Swift, is scheduled for 9 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 2, at Cypress Reno, 761 S. Virginia St., in Reno. Tickets are $15-$20, and the show is 18+.