Playing out like an infectious lyric from "Today Was a Fairytale," Sunday (June 13) proved a dream come true for the thousands of Taylor Swift fans who made their way to Nashville's Bridgestone Arena during the singer-songwriter's sole CMA Music Festival appearance.
Photo Credit: Whitney Self
Swift's plan was to arrive at 8 a.m. for a 13-hour meet-and-greet session that included a performance, but by the time she completed hugging fans, posing for photos and signing autographs, she had spent almost 15 hours at the venue before closing the event shortly before 11 p.m.
More than half of the 16,000-seat facility was filled with eager fans who brought their Swift-inspired blankets, T-shirts, posters, cowboy hats, photos, etc., in hopes of getting them personally signed by the megastar. Masses of standing followers also gathered on the floor level in hopes of meeting their idol.
Standing outside her tour bus parked in the center of the arena, Swift sported a sweet and simple floral dress, small tan heels and a sparkling headband accenting her signature, curly blond locks.
From morning till night, fans were given the opportunity to score a wristband through challenges and raffles, allowing exclusive access to meet the country sensation. For those who made their way to the meet-and-greet line, the affection between Swift and her fans was nothing short of awe-inspiring.
As one teenage girl stood waiting in line for her turn, tears began to stream down her face as her hands started to quiver. The photo she was holding of Swift in her left hand began to shudder as she tried her best to compose her overwhelming emotions. When she finally reached her place in line, Swift met her with a warm smile, a colossal hug and kind words of appreciation.
Another young man, who won his wristband through a dance-off, said he and three of his buddies had made the 10-hour trek from Oklahoma to Nashville for the chance to meet her. "It's our senior trip," he said excited and grinning from ear to ear. He was hoping she may sign his Xbox.
What's more, as fan after fan made their way through the line, Swift gave each awestruck individual her undivided attention. Often asking questions like, "How far did you travel?" or expressing flattering remarks such as, "You have such a beautiful face" or "You are amazing," Swift mesmerized her admirers. By the affectionate outpouring of gratitude, the singer-songwriter seemed to give each fan the feeling as though they were the only one in the room -- despite the fact they were surrounded by a swarming crowd located on the jam-packed arena floor. If Swift at all grew tired of the constant photos or hugs -- or if her feet began to ache from standing for hours -- you couldn't tell.
Around 2 p.m., Swift withdrew to her tour bus for a brief break before she and her band arrived on the small stage in the center of the arena to perform a four-song set. The energetic performer opened with her catchy "slammin' screen door" ditty, "Our Song." Between hits, she expressed that during her 15-month Fearless tour, she experienced some of the best times of her entire life.
"I wanted to say thank you," she smiled, holding her hands to her heart. "And honestly, I cannot believe there are so many of your beautiful faces here. ... Thank you for being the people who at the end of the day make me feel fearless."
This, of course, sent the crowd roaring with excitement as she followed with three more tunes including "Fearless," "You Belong With Me" and "Love Story."
And as the tireless and fearless artist concluded her brief but electrifying performance, she told the crowd, "I cannot tell you in words how much I love you."
But judging by the passionate screams and incessant tears, no words were necessary.
View photos from Taylor Swift's meet-and-greet and performance.