Fans are calling Friday’s show “unbearable.”
When Taylor Swift finally took her Eras Tour to Rio de Janeiro on Friday, fans — and even the famous Christ the Redeemer statue — welcomed her with open arms. What was supposed to be a “dream” for thousands of Swifties quickly turned into a nightmare, With one fan dying in extremely hot conditions.
NBC News spoke with four fans who were standing in different sections of the field during Friday’s show at Nilton Santos Olympic Stadium. They said they saw several people lose consciousness. Water was also scarce because attendees were not allowed to bring it.
Igor Baeva, 33, who traveled from the capital, Brasilia, to attend Swift’s show, described the heat as “abysmal”, with dozens of fans turning out, and the stadium “not equipped” to handle it.
“I regretted going as soon as I got there. I was drenched in sweat,” he said. “There was nowhere to go. We were not allowed to get water. There were no water fountains.”
However, not many fans were as lucky as Paiva, who secured tickets to all three shows in Rio. He said Sunday’s show was “as smooth as can be.” The Swift performed in better – reportedly rainy – conditions.
For those who could only get tickets for Friday, there was no concert replay, and memories of their Swift show were clouded by the bad experience of attending concerts.
Parts of Brazil have been experiencing a heat wave since November 12. Temperatures in Rio reached 88 degrees Fahrenheit with 66% humidity around 6 p.m., according to Weather Underground, and Saturday was much warmer.
On Friday, the city recorded the highest heat index recorded since measurements began in 2014 — 138 degrees Fahrenheit — which broke the previous record set on Tuesday, according to MetSul Meteorologia.
Paiva made the difficult decision to leave Friday’s concert midway through Swift’s 3 1/2-hour set.
“I was feeling weak and nauseous. My vision was blurry. It was not a good place to be. So I decided to leave because I couldn’t take it until the end.” “I couldn’t find a place to catch a breath of fresh air.”
When he finally decided to leave, he couldn’t find a way out.
“That’s when I started to realize how bad the situation was,” Paiva said. “When I left, it was not easy for me to find a way out, because everything was covered; “The gaps on the field have been covered.”
Normally a stadium would have more airflow, Paiva said, but “wooden boards” appeared to have been drilled over gaps in the stadium, turning an already stifling environment into “hell.”
He got a text from his friends in the general admission pit saying: “People are passing out. We need help. We need water.”
There was no way for water to reach people, even for them to buy water. They could not leave their places. “It was impossible,” Paiva said.
Time4Ffun, or T4F, the company that organized the Eras Tour in Brazil, and a representative for Swift did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
in Notice on social media Saturday morning, T4F said it will allow fans to take certain water bottles and food into the venue and that free water will be available in the lines and at multiple places in the stadium. She also said that more medical stations, ambulances and mobile intensive care units will be provided.
The Rio City Council reiterated the change in food and drink restrictions on its social media accounts on Saturday. The stadium is owned by the city, but has been leased to Brazilian soccer club Botafogo, which has been in charge of its operations since 2007, the office said in an emailed statement Monday. NBC News has reached out to the team for comment.
Liana Hiltner, 24, a Brazilian fan from El Salvador, said she suffered heatstroke at the concert on Friday and had difficulty getting medical care.
“I knew it would be hot and I did everything I could not to get sick, but I suffered heatstroke and had to seek medical care,” she said. “My body failed me, but my dream kept me going.”
Hiltner said there was no paramedic in her department.
“I started vomiting. I was shaking and shaking, and yeah, it was bad. I was sweating. I was pouring water on myself to cool down, and the vents were already covered,” Hiltner said, referring to the wood panels that appeared to limit airflow. To the stadium.
The girl behind Hiltner was propositioned during the song “Love Story” and appeared to nearly pass out afterwards. After the show, she told Hiltner, “I don’t feel good. I don’t feel good.”
Hiltner said searching for water and medical care while feeling sick was “hell.” She was also afraid she would lose her place or get medication that might force her to miss the rest of the show.
“It was my dream,” she said. “I will not lose my dream. My cousin also had my dream. It was her dream too.
Andrea Rosas’ water bottle was confiscated at the entrance, and she had difficulty getting water on the field.
“As soon as I entered the stadium, I tried to buy water,” said Rosas, 29. “There were some people walking around trying to sell water, so I bought from them.” “I paid, but they never returned the water I paid for.”
She faced a difficult decision: stay where she was and risk severe dehydration from the heat or go inside to buy water at the stadium itself and lose the spot she had spent hours waiting in line in the sun to secure.
“I decided to go in and lose my spot to get water,” Rosas said, adding that the price of water was about $2 and that it “wasn’t even a bottle that they were selling.” “It was just a glass of water.”
T4F said in its notice on Saturday that it was not responsible for providing water and food at the venue.
Rosas traveled from her home in Lima, Peru, to attend all three nights of Swift’s scheduled performances in Rio de Janeiro. She said she “almost fainted four times” during the show, and felt “very scared” when she saw a fan vomiting.
Rosas saw security pulling people over the barricade after they lost consciousness. Several people described fainting during Swift’s set and being unable to get help.
“Other big acts, like Harry Styles and Coldplay, had mainstream appeal when they came here,” Rosas said. “It wasn’t like that. It was hot and the stadium wasn’t ready.”
On her way home, she learned from social media that a 23-year-old fan had died.
“I cried when I found out. I felt like it could have been me, and I just thought of my mum. “I was like, ‘This could have been any of us on the pitch.’ So I’m just trying to thank God that I got home safe. But I was very, very sad.”
Swift wrote in an Instagram Story early Saturday about a fan’s death before her show and said she felt “so sad.”
The fan, identified as Ana Clara Benevides Machado, felt unwell and was taken to the medical center and later to the hospital, where she died, T4F said on Saturday.
The cause of death has not been released.
Joey Yagoda, 31, a New Yorker who lives in Argentina, described the water bottles the stadium was selling as “the size of a Jell-O cup.”
He noted that some water was available during the filming of Sabrina Carpenter, Swift’s opening act. As the night progressed, Yagoda said, water access to his section diminished and eventually stopped completely.
Swift started it herself Throw water bottles In the crowd while she was singing.
During the third “era” of the show, Swift I paused the party for several minutes while a group of fans screamed for water.
“Can I get an indication that you know where they are?” Swift said in a video posted on TikTok during Friday’s concert:
Yagoda said it seemed as if Swift realized at that point that the place might not be equipped to reach people when they needed help.
“Eventually, they started throwing water at the crowd,” Yagoda said. “Not just Taylor; Someone started throwing water at the crowd, and I’m not sure if it was Taylor’s people or people in the stadium, but it wasn’t enough.
He said the scariest thing was seeing a girl faint in front of him.
“She collapsed, and she was with a group of friends,” Yagoda said. Then they picked her up – as if someone was trying to get help. …There was no way to alert someone the same way you can in the United States alert a guide.
He added that the girl’s friends tried to attract the attention of security, and when they were unable to do so, they eventually removed her from the crowd themselves. He saw several people pass out around him at the show.
He initially thought it was his section of the crowd that was struggling. He said that before he knew the full extent of the problems at the stadium, he was concerned about whether “there were enough people at the stadium site to determine where people were or to actually know what to do.”
Yagoda, who is familiar with coordinating general admission for most concerts in Latin America, attributed the “public health issue” at the concert to a combination of factors: extreme heat and humidity, and a lack of support from stadium staff. And the long lines in the sun required to secure great views of the Swift.
“There’s, like, a lot of really long lines for the stadium, and it’s going, like, a lot of buildings around, so basically, we got there at 4:30 or 5 p.m., and you’re waiting in line for an hour to get in the heat,” Yagoda said. “This means that for some people, they have been waiting in line since 7 a.m. on Thursday morning. You wait in line for approximately 36 hours before you get inside.
Paiva said the VIP gates were supposed to open at 3 p.m. local time, but they opened more than an hour late, forcing fans to extend their standing time in the sun before the show.
“Some people have fainted because they were standing in line during the day, all day, in the heat, with no shade, no toilet, no support,” he said. “If they left the line, they would lose their position, you know, so it was crazy.”
The heat during Saturday’s show is expected to be worse. New rules were announced that morning: fans will be there too Permissible To eat and water In the field. The barricades were filled with crates of water bottles, and the air vents appeared unobstructed, Rosas said.
The show was postponed an hour before it was due to start, after thousands of fans had spent the whole day in line and were already in the stadium.
“The safety and well-being of my fans, fellow artists, and crew must always and will always come first,” Swift wrote Saturday on Instagram about the postponement. The show has been rescheduled for Monday.
“It’s really sad to think that Brazilians will not get the chance to experience Taylor as they deserve,” said Paiva, one of the attendees. I don’t think the Brazilians are to blame. I don’t think the fans are to blame. I honestly think this company is T4F.
Paiva said he was concerned about attending a show of this size in Rio de Janeiro, which he admitted had infrastructure and public safety issues, but the conditions were much worse than he expected and were mostly preventable.
“I don’t think it’s impossible to go to a concert when it’s this hot, but I think there was such a bad decision on the first night. Everything that could go wrong did,” he said.
Swift is expected to perform her scheduled show on Saturday in Rio on Monday night.