Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour has been overshadowed by the unfortunate death of one of her fans during the first concert in Rio de Janeiro after suffering heat stroke due to the infernal heat wave that is hitting Brazil.
Rio has recorded temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius in recent days, with a wind chill that reached 59 degrees in some areas of the city.
Friday was no exception and the Swifties who filled the Nilton Santos Olympic Stadium suffered from the intense heat, but also from a series of failures by the organizers that led to the death of a fan and almost a thousand people fainting.
Who was the swiftie that died?
Ana Benavides, 23, was a Psychology student at the Federal University of Rondonópolis (UFR), in Mato Grosso, and went with her friends to the Taylor Swift concert.
A friend of Ana told O Globo in Brazil that during the first song the young woman began to feel bad, then she fainted and did not wake up.
Ana was taken to a hospital, but she arrived lifeless and doctors confirmed that she died due to cardiorespiratory arrest caused by heat stroke.
Ana’s father, Weiny Machado, 53, demanded a prompt investigation into the death of his only daughter who was close to graduating.
“I lost my only daughter, a happy and intelligent girl. She was about to graduate in Psychology next April, saving money. I have no words to express my pain. She left home to fulfill a dream and came back dead,” he told Brazilian media.
During the concert, at least a thousand people fainted due to the heat were also reported, who were treated by the stadium’s medical services.
There were even several moments in the concert that Taylor would interrupt her performance to ask the production to bring water to the fans or even throw water bottles at them from the stage.
“They didn’t let us enter with water”: Swifties protest online
Faced with the chaos, hundreds of Swifties reported on social networks that they were not allowed to enter with water bottles and hydration points were scarce despite the high temperatures.
They also stated that water bottles inside the stadium were sold at exorbitant prices. First they had a cost of 8 reais (around 28 Mexican pesos) and as the minutes and demand passed, they rose to 10 reais.
Another complaint was that the water bottle purchasing machines did not accept electronic transactions, only cash, and some products were frozen.
Authorities go against organizers
Given this, the Brazilian Government announced this Saturday an investigation into the lack of water at the concert and they are targeting Time For Fun (T4F), the event organizer in charge of Taylor Swift’s concerts in that country.
The Minister of Justice, Flávio Dino, announced on his social networks that the Consumer Protection Secretariat, which depends on his office, will open an “immediate investigation” into the restrictions that prevent those who attend mass concerts from bringing their own bottles of water or access to them, which, in Rio de Janeiro, is part of the security measures for large events.
For Dino, “it is unacceptable that people suffer, faint and even die due to lack of access to water.”
The Public Defender’s Office of the State of Rio de Janeiro also filed a lawsuit against T4F to allow the entry of water bottles at Taylor Swift concerts.
“The death of Clara Benevides, 23, is a tragedy that cannot be ignored,” he said.
Likewise, he requested the right of access to water at events and shows promoted and organized by T4F, that the order to prevent access with plastic bottles be ended and that there be more hydration points and water supply to the public.
In addition, T4F would be liable to a fine of 200 thousand reais if the lawsuit is accepted in court.
Given this scenario, the organizer reported that they would give free bottles of water both in the lines at all entrances to the stadium and inside, and that they would install more free water points.
Likewise, they will allow bottles of water and unopened food to enter the stadium without limitations on the number per person.
However, he argued that the ban on water bottles in the stadium on Friday is a requirement made by public organizations and that the marketing of drinks and food corresponds to the administration of the property.
He also added that the security force will be reinforced with 200 more people so that there are 1,230 workers who support the swifties and medical posts and ambulances will increase.
Taylor Swift postpones second concert
The complicated situation due to the heat wave and the failures in the first concert led Taylor Swift and her team to make the decision to postpone the second concert in Rio de Janeiro.
“I am writing this text from my dressing room in the stadium. “We made the decision to postpone tonight’s show due to the extreme temperature in Rio. The safety and well-being of my fans, my dancers and the public will always come first,” he expressed in a message through Instagram.
Hundreds of fans were already at the Nilton Santos Olympic stadium when the singer announced this decision to protect them from the heat wave.
Unlike the first show, this Saturday the organizers had allowed the entry of fans, bottles of water and the firefighters were cooling the fans by spraying water, although cases were observed where young people were affected by the strong heat.
The concert will be scheduled for next Monday, November 20, according to the announcement given to fans in the stadium and also confirmed by the mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes.
Yesterday, minutes after finishing the chaotic concert, Taylor posted a message where she said she felt devastated to learn of the death of one of her Swifties.
“I don’t think I’m writing these words, but with a broken heart I have to say that we lost a fan tonight (Friday) before my concert. I can’t express how devastated I am by this. I have very little information just the fact that “She was incredibly beautiful and too young,” he said.
With The Eras Tour, Taylor Swift will give six concerts: three at the Nilton Santos Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro and three more at the Allianz Parque in Sao Paulo.