Thousands of Swift fans arrive in Cardiff for gig

Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift's Eras tour is on track to make more than $2bn (£1.56bn), making it the most lucrative concert tour in music history [Getty Images]

Thousands of Taylor Swift fans have shaken off travel warnings to see the US superstar perform in Cardiff.

More than 70,000 Swifties are at the only single-date concert of her 152-night Eras Tour, which is at the Principality Stadium.

Fans started queuing in the early hours of Tuesday to see the singer's sell-out show, which started at about 19:00 BST.

Despite warnings of hours of motorway tailbacks and train disruptions causing severe delays, many were willing to risk it to be part of the "once-in-a-lifetime tour".

Isobel and Sophie
Sophie (right) and Isobel joined the queue in the early hours of Tuesday [BBC]

Isobel, 22, and Sophie, 21, have VIP tickets and joined the line at 03:30 on Tuesday.

Sophie, the former president of the Taylor Swift society at Cardiff University, said she had been waiting all year for the event.

"It’s a once-in-a-lifetime tour," she said.

"It’s so special that she’s in Cardiff. I’ve met all of my best friends through the society and her.

"We've never been to see her before and are all very excited about it. We have made lots of bracelets over the past few months and have co-ordinated outfits."

Fans in queue for Taylor Swift concert
Fans were queuing outside the Principality early on Tuesday morning [BBC]

Cassie Evans, a 14-year-old who has had cancer, is also going to see her musical hero and hopes to get a hat that Swift gives to a member of the audience during her performance of the song 22.

"I’m desperately hoping to get the 22 hat," said Cassie, who is going to the Cardiff concert with her mum.

"I’m recovering from a four-year battle with relapsed leukaemia followed by a bone marrow transplant and have missed out on so much.

Cassie Evans ringing the bell
Cassie Evans ringing the bell at the end of her cancer treatment at Cardiff’s Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital with her family [Julia Evans]

"I hope Taylor thinks I’m special enough to receive it after all I’ve been through.

"Listening to her music helped get me through the many long days and nights of my treatment and recovery at Cardiff’s Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital where I used to chat to the nurses about our favourite songs.

"It would mean the world to me to be chosen to meet her and receive the 22 hat."

Taylor Swift gives a hat to a fan
Taylor Swift giving her hat to a fan during the performance of her song 22 is a tradition in her live shows [Getty Images]

Taylor Swift travel advice

Travel warnings were issued ahead of the gig after postcode data suggested the gig would attract music lovers from a wider catchment than most Principality Stadium events.

Some who went to Ed Sheeran's Cardiff concerts two years ago were caught in 15-mile queues on the M4 into south Wales - with a few missing the gig completely.

One Sheeran fan from Berkshire took seven hours instead of the anticipated two.

Roadworks and rail engineering works in south Wales were suspended to help fans attending the show.

But drivers have been warned traffic could increase by about 15% on the already congested M4 around Cardiff and Newport.

"For those attending and travelling a long way, make sure you have your journey well planned," said South Wales Police Supt Arabella Rees ahead of the event.

Both Transport for Wales and GWR will provide extra capacity on trains in and out of Cardiff but warned rail services across south Wales would be very busy.

Some local trains heading into Cardiff were disrupted earlier on Tuesday.

Fans on Westgate Street
Fans at the top of the queue included a woman who had flown in from Chicago and has been there since midnight [BBC]
fans being given free water as they queue
Grateful fans being handed free bottles of water while they queued said they had heard Taylor Swift had paid for it [BBC]

GWR, which operates mainline train services between Cardiff, London, Bristol and Swansea, said it would put on 10 more trains after Swift's show - adding a total of more than 15,000 extra seats - to help fans get home.

One fan who is preparing for delays and travelling to Cardiff by train is Swiftie Bella Thorn.

"We are planning for major queues and waiting time at the train station as we are coming from Bristol," said the 16-year-old who is going with her two sisters and a friend.

Map of Cardiff's road closures
A full Cardiff city centre road closure will be enforced from 12:00 BST until midnight [Principality Stadium]

Fans have been warned against parking in restricted areas around Cardiff or face a fine while organisers had said people shouldn't camp around the stadium.

A full city centre road closure was in place in Cardiff from 12:00 ahead of gates opening at 15:00 for VIP guests and 16:00 for general admission - until midnight.

Police have told anyone heading to see Swift in Cardiff that extra officers - including armed police, officers on horseback and facial recognition technology - would be deployed so people can expect a "safe and welcoming environment".

"There will be an increased number of local officers who will be highly visible on foot patrol before, during and after the event," added Supt Rees.

"They will be supported by our specialist colleagues... to ensure that people coming to the city have a safe and welcoming environment."

Fans queuing
The Welsh capital's been buzzing with excitement as fans get ready to see the superstar performer. [BBC]

The American superstar has already played three nights in both Edinburgh and Liverpool.

After playing Cardiff, the 34-year-old will head to London for three nights at Wembley Stadium on the weekend.

Holly near the queue
Holly's already seen Taylor Swift in Edinburgh - she'll see her again in Cardiff tonight then in London on Friday. [BBC]

Holly, 33, from London, used her interview on Radio Wales to break the news to her eight-year-old niece, Nelli-Jay, that she’s going to the concert at Wembley on Friday.

“It’ll be absolutely amazing,” said Holly.

“She’s been watching the Eras movie since it came out. She’s the biggest Swiftie.”

Holly flew to Chicago to see Taylor, but sadly did not manage to get tickets. So far, she's been to the gigs in Edinburgh, will be at the Cardiff one tonight, then London on Friday.