After a young fan died at Taylor Swift's gig in Rio de Janeiro on November 17, concerning details have emerged about the hours leading up to the tragic incident.
23-year-old student Ana Clara Benevides died during the pop star’s first-ever concert in Brazil after suffering a cardiac arrest.
Ana reportedly lined up in the sun for eight hours before being allowed inside the Nilton Santos stadium where fans were allegedly prohibited from bringing their own water bottles, despite the country experiencing a brutal heat wave.
It’s been reported that she fainted in the front row during Taylor’s second song of the show, ‘Cruel Summer’, and was rushed to hospital where she died after resuscitation attempts.
Taylor posted a statement on social media after the concert saying she was “devastated” by the tragic news.
She performed her song ‘Bigger Than The Whole Sky’ for the very first time at the following show, which many fans interpreted to be a tribute to Ana as it is about loss and dealing with grief.
🗣️ What they said
Taylor Swift wrote on her Instagram Story: “I can’t believe I’m writing these words, but it is with a shattered heart that I say we lost a fan earlier tonight before my show. I can’t even tell you how devastated I am by this. There’s very little information I have other than the fact that she was so incredibly beautiful and far too young.
“I’m not going to be able to speak about this from the stage because I feel overwhelmed by grief when I even try to talk about it. I want to say now I feel this loss deeply, and my broken heart goes out to her family and friends. This is the last thing I ever thought would happen when we decided to bring this tour to Brazil.”
Ana’s father Weiny Machado told Brazilian newspaper Folha de S.Paulo: “I want it to be found out whether they were in fact prohibited from bringing water, whether there was negligence in providing assistance. 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 fulfil a dream and came back dead.”
❗ It's hard to believe, but…
The day of the concert was reportedly one of the hottest recorded days in Rio de Janeiro at 39.1°C, but felt much hotter, according to AP.
Throughout the show, Taylor asked staff to supply water bottles to fans and ended up throwing bottles into the audience herself when she saw people were fainting. Videos have also surfaced on social media showing Taylor struggling to breathe while she was performing.
Around one thousand fans fainted at the concert due to dehydration, according to firefighter estimates, and some people alleged they were treated for “second-degree and third-degree burns” because of the heat and the stadium’s metal flooring and fencing.
Taylor postponed the November 18 show to November 20 due to “extreme temperatures”, and several changes were made to her November 19 concert to accommodate for the heat. Free water stations were set up for fans, who were also allowed to bring sealed water containers into the venue, and pyrotechnics during Taylor’s performance of ‘Bad Blood’ were disabled.
📹 | During the show Taylor helped fans get water due to the extreme heat
“Sorry it’s just very hot so when somebody says they need water and it’s this hot they really need it.” #RioTSTheErasTour pic.twitter.com/2ttYlpujWH
— Taylor Swift Updates (@TSwiftLA) November 18, 2023
🤔 Why should I care?
Taylor Swift is set to bring The Eras Tour to Australia in February 2024 when the country will be experiencing one of its hottest summers on record thanks to El Niño.
However, both her Sydney and Melbourne concert venues allow empty water bottles to be brought inside where they have several water refill stations available.
It’s also important to note that unlike Taylor’s South American concerts, all of her Australian shows are reserved seating which means there is no need to queue outside the venue before doors open.
— Taylor Swift Updates (@swifferupdates) November 20, 2023
⏭️ So what next?
Brazilian entertainment company T4F - Time For Fun, who were in charge of ticket sales and stadium management, have been slammed for their poor concert management by fans and politicians.
Congresswoman Erika Hilton has since reported T4F to the Federal Public Ministry, writing on social media that the decision to ban fans from bringing water bottles into the stadium was “criminal”. She also submitted a bill making it mandatory to have free water at concerts and punishing companies who refuse entry to fans with water for their own consumption.
The office of Rio’s public prosecutor has also launched a criminal investigation to determine Ana’s official cause of death.
Taylor has three shows remaining on The Eras Tour this year in São Paulo beginning November 24. She will then take a break and restart the tour in Tokyo, Japan on February 7 before kicking off her Australian leg on February 16.
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