Taylor Swift lovers united Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, at The Senate to dress up and belt out her music at the Cruel Summer Dance Party.
The event was centered around all things Taylor Swift, and people showed up dressed as Taylor Swift from the artist's different musical eras in mass.
There was energetic singing and dancing to every song played, with the room appearing as if Taylor has been duplicated 400 times. The event, sponsored by Le Petite Fete, had other activities too, such as a lip sync battle, a photo booth and a costume contest.
Le Petite Fete is a group of professional event planners. Courtney Gibson and Caitie Phillips, the creators of La Petite Fete, started the event to create a space to share their passion for Swift's music. Le Petite Fete originally started in Orlando, FL and it has continued to take these parties across the country.
The co-owners said they loved the energy these dance parties bring to communities.
“I kinda just love the comradery of the event. People come and they say they came and they made friends." Gibson said.
When people come alone to these dance parties, they feel safe in the environment Le Petite Fete provides, Gibson said.
Attendees could also request songs and give shoutouts — some request shoutouts to their toxic, cheating ex, while others requested their favorite songs.
During the costume contest, each contestant got to flaunt their fit and explain what it was inspired by. USC graduate and Columbia local Olivia Dare White won the costume contest.
White’s outfit was inspired by Taylor Swift's “You Need To Calm Down” music video. White was not expecting to win since she had shown up unknowingly dressed for a costume contest.
"I had no idea about the costume contest, I just I love a costume, I am a Halloween girl. I am also a huge Taylor Swift fan so I had to dress up." White said.
This costume was put together with a hot pink and fluffy jacket. White also pieced together blue sunglasses and sparkly heart earrings. This outfit duplicated Taylor’s look from the music video "You Need To Calm Down."
White even hand drew a fake tattoo that matched Swift's in the cover photo for the single "You Need To Calm Down."
“It’s a song about embracing who you are and, you know, forgetting about the haters, which is what Taylor's music is all about,” White said.
Rebecca Anne Balding, USC graduate and Master's student at Clemson, took inspiration from Taylor Swift’s "22" music video. Balding, like many others, traveled to Columbia to enjoy a night all about Taylor Swift.
Balding said she loved Taylor Swift's song "22" because it brings back good memories.
“It just reminds me of the fun times I have had with my friends, like being young and 20,” Balding said.
The lip sync battle was a time for the contestants to pour their hearts out on the stage. Each battling member embraced their inner Taylor Swift.
Evelyn Leary, second-year biological sciences major at USC, competed in the lip sync battle. She was dressed as Taylor Swift's country music era. During her performance, she wrote on her phone an encouragement to everyone having boy trouble during her performance.
The night also saw a showing of Taylor Swift's "All Too Well (Taylor's Version)" 10-minute video. The crowd watched and booed Jake Gyllenhaal, who was played by Dylan O'Brien in the music video. This fan favorite video had everyone screaming, some even in tears.
Many people traveled from across South Carolina just to sing in a room full of fellow Swifties. Taylor Swift was not there, and most likely nowhere close, but the night saw a community united to experience their beloved artist.