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Thousands of Taylor Swift fans made huge impact on Edinburgh

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By Angie BrownEdinburgh and east reporter

BBC Camera ObscuraBBC

Andrew Johnson, director of the Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, inside a giant Kaleidosphere of Taylor Swift

Tens of thousands of Swifties swamped cafes, bars and tourist attractions across the centre of Edinburgh while Taylor Swift’s billion-dollar tour was in town.

Businesses recorded bumper sales over the weekend amid the frenzy of fan excitement for The Eras Tour at Murrayfield Stadium.

The US singer’s three night stint in Scotland had an “unbelievable impact” on the city’s hospitality industry.

There was also the Edinburgh Taylored Taste Trail which saw shops, cafes and restaurants showcasing cocktails, mocktails, afternoon teas, ice creams, desserts, and cupcakes inspired by the singer’s iconic songs.

There were Blank Space chocolates, Shake It Off confetti creations and Enchanted teas.

And some businesses even made their own friendship bracelets for customers.

Friendship bracelets are a major part of the Taylor Swift experience – they are handmade, typically out of plastic wire and colourful beads – many fans add letter beads to spell out some of Swift’s albums or lyrics.

Swifties go up to each other and trade bracelets they have made.

Coro The Chocolate Cafe

Lauren Stenhouse (middle) created a Taylor Swift inspired chocolate fondue board with colleagues Katie Mcelnea and Azeline Garrard

Lauren Stenhouse, owner of Coro The Chocolate Cafe, told BBC Scotland News, she had sold more than 100 bespoke Taylor-inspired chocolate fondue boards with dipping sauces and American pancakes and brownies.

“It’s been unreal. That’s been our best weekend since we have opened.

“The cafe was full and we were having to turn people away because it was so busy and we have never had to do that before.

“It was so much motivation for us as a small business. Sometimes you can have bad days when you see other businesses closing around you and you think ‘maybe we are next’ but this makes all the bad memories just dissipate.

“We are so excited. I couldn’t be more pleased and I cannot believe the impact that tour has had on the hospitality industry in general.

“I could never have anticipated the turnout we got so we are just incredibly ecstatic about it and happy.”

She added that there were so many Swifties handing our friendship bracelets to each other in the shop.

“They created such a nice community setting, it was really sweet,” she said.

bbc The Alchemistbbc

Havana Tansey and Ross Groves made lots of Taylor Swift friendship bracelets for their customers at The Alchemist

Claire Meikle, general manager of The Alchemist, told BBC Scotland that lots of sequins were left behind.

“We had hundreds of Taylor Swift fans – they were very recognisable.

“Everyone was coming in and looking fantastic, it was just such a lovely vibe in the bar because everyone was happy and excited for the concert.

“We had so many people in from the states who were saying apparently it was $5,000 ($£4,000) for one ticket because they don’t have control of ticket touts in the US so when they release the tickets they are all swept up immediately and resold for a very high price.

“So we had a lot of people in from America and Canada who said they were having a whole holiday for the price they would have paid for in the US.

“When you went into the toilets there was a lot of sequins and a lot of glitter everywhere, it was funny. The cleaners have been working very hard.”

The specialist cocktail and mocktail bar in St James Quarter gave out handmade friendship bracelets with certain drinks.

“They are quite time consuming to make so we couldn’t keep up with demand so then we started putting everything to make one bracelet into a bag so they could make them themselves.

“We were running back and forth between other businesses nearby to trade beads with different letters that we needed.

“It was a great fun weekend.”

bbc Grandmother Lee Johnston and her family from Virginia in the USbbc

Grandmother Lee Johnston and her family from Virginia in the US travelled to Edinburgh to see the Eras concert again and enjoyed taking selfies with the Taylor Swift lifesize cut out at the Camera Obscura & World of Illusions

Claire Riddoch, marketing manager at at the Camera Obscura & World of Illusions in Edinburgh, said their Giant Kaleidosphere of Taylor Swift and cardboard cut out had been a huge hit with fans.

A bespoke animation of the singer was created for the tourist attraction on the Royal Mile.

It showed the star wearing a Scottish Jimmy hat while playing bagpipes as she travels through the capital on her way to perform at Murrayfield.

Her image was split into dozens of pieces to create an illusion that runs 9ft deep.

“We had a lot of Swifties in over the weekend, we could tell they were here for the concert and were in their hats,” she said.

“We had a lifesize cardboard cut out of Taylor in our foyer which was very popular, so many photographs and selfies got lots of social media interaction.

“Our Taylor Swift cut out was so popular we are going to keep it and move her to our Autowed machine so you can get married to her.

“There are only two of these machines in the whole world and its a machine that allows you to get married.

“The machine gives you a certificate and a couple of rings and it will marry you to whomever you would like, not legally binding but very popular so we are going to put Taylor down beside the machine so people can continue their love affair with Taylor if they wish.”

Iain McKechnie at Sweet Paradice

Iain McKechnie at Sweet Paradice set up a 19 piece menu inspired by the American singer

Iain McKechnie, supervisor of Sweet Paradice Desserts which is painted pink inside and out, said they set up a 19-piece menu inspired by the American singer as she is “all about pink too”.

He told BBC Scotland: “We were the second biggest pink icon in Edinburgh over the weekend.

“We named cookie dough and waffle and ice cream desserts and drinks all after her songs and albums – all great fun.”

Ailsa Cameron Amy, Neil and Ailsa CameronAilsa Cameron

Amy and Ailsa Cameron had a T-shirt made for their dad, Neil, with lyrics from a Taylor Swift song

Ailsa Cameron, 32, who went to all three shows over the weekend with her sister Amy, 29, said they spent more than £750 between them and got a special pre-sale code for tickets in July 2023 after pre-ordering the Midnights album in October 2022.

“We have been fans for 16 years and we wanted to go to all of them in our home town. One of the main reasons is the surprise songs Taylor does, they are different every night so we wanted to see all the surprise songs she did in Edinburgh.

“They were amazing. On Friday I got one of my dream surprise songs ever which is Daylight, so I was over the moon with that.

“Then on the Saturday night we went with our dad and his favourite Taylor Swift song is Get Away Car and that was one of her surprise songs so that was amazing she played that the night our dad came with us.”

Ailsa Cameron SwiftiesAilsa Cameron

Taylor Swift’s lucky number 13 comes from her birth date – 13 December

Ailsa continued: “We were near the front one of the nights and the others we were sitting in different parts of the stadium, which was one thing I personally enjoyed was having three different experiences of the concert.

“In the seats we were higher up so we got a whole view of the stage and the set up which we didn’t quite get to see when we were standing at the front.”

They dressed up in different outfits for each night and they made a T-shirt for their dad using a line from on of Taylor’s songs.

“We also got temporary tattoos of Taylor’s lucky number 13 on our hands.”

“We have grown up with her music, we have always been fans so it was just amazing to have her here, I just couldn’t believe she came to our home town because on her other tours she hadn’t been to Scotland for nine years.”

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