It’s a ‘Cruel Summer’ in the City of Love(r)

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

Photos by Hanz Sirilan

Following the success of their ‘Midnights in the City of Love’ last October, fans of American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift gathered once again on Saturday, May 13, to jive to the beat of the “cruel” summer and hum along to her all-too-familiar tunes.

Dubbed “It’s A Cruel Summer With You: A Taylor Swift Music Festival”, after the cult favorite from Swift’s 2019 album “Lover”, SM City Iloilo’s Southpoint event center was gifted with a pinkish-orange hue of the sunset sky similar to the album’s motif.

The event was organized by Taylor Swift Iloilo, a local fan group which had been holding events only since 2021.

Ilonggo acts led what seemed to be a mini-concert of covers of the singer’s hit songs and fan favorites, including “Lavender Haze”, “Fearless”, “Our Song”, “Dear John”, “All Too Well” (10-Minute Version), and “Sparks Fly”, among others, leading the crowd into a one large Taylor Swift karaoke session.

One of the event’s hosts, Neoniel Pedutem, told Daily Guardian that the event showcases the singer’s prowess as a songwriter who incorporates storytelling into her songs.

He emphasized on Swift’s power to connect with her listeners, with her music and her sometimes-unconventional ways of delivering her music.

“I think that the significance of this event is to show to the world the power of music and the power of storytelling, because Taylor Swift is a storyteller. She is very relatable, all of her songs are relatable, and it can capture one’s heart and it can inspire a lot of people,” said Pedutem.

“Taylor Swift is known as an artist who values all of her fans, and this is one of the ways that the fans could give back the love that Taylor Swift gave to us,” he added.

He also commented on the energy given by the attending fans, saying that it was “unmatched” by anything they have seen before.

“It was so surreal. The energy is so contagious. The event started at 2:00 p.m., and by [evening], the energy was still high, so I think we owe that to all the Ilonggo fans who stayed up,” he said.

Another fan, Sharyn Kaye Alviar, said that she saw the event as a way to connect fans in Iloilo, given the lesser possibilities of seeing the singer in person in Manila.

“Given that the Philippines is fond of Taylor Swift’s music, I think we are deprived of musical events, that is why people are so invested going to events [like these] since there is a group of fans [who are also] willing to come up with such events,” said Alviar.

“[Her] niche in her career is that her lyrics are very relatable, and if you listen to her, you feel like someone is giving you advice or someone out there also experienced that same situation that you have. As a listener, someone is really connected to you that’s why you’d find her relatable,” she shared.

Pedutem said that the event was merely a “teaser” for a bigger event that would be done by the organization in the future, inspired by the singer’s ongoing ‘The Eras Tour’.

The bigger event will also serve as a call for Swift to include the Philippines, even just Manila, in the tour’s schedule.

“This is just a preparation for ‘The Eras Festival’, the very big event, I think it’s going to happen next year, and that is a call from the Filipino Swifties that Taylor Swift should also include the Philippines in one of her scheduled [stops] for [The Eras Tour]. […] We hope that it could be successful that it could reach [an] international [level], so that it could reach [Swift] that Ilonggo Swifties also love her,” he stated.