Taylor Swift’s Rio de Janeiro concert postponed due to deadly heat

By November 20, 2023

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — Thousands of Taylor Swift fans in Rio de Janeiro’s Nilton Santos stadium were asked to leave after her Saturday night concert was postponed due to extreme heat. The night before, a 23-year-old woman died from the heat, sparking outrage at the concert venue and organizers. 

Around 5:30 PM on Saturday, with thousands of fans already packing into the 60,000-seat stadium, and temperatures outside reaching over 40°C (104°F), organizers announced the postponement of the show due to “adverse weather conditions.” 

This reporter was attending the show, and watched as the audience members were caught off guard at the announcement. Some fans were visibly shaken, crying and verbally criticizing the organizers. The show was rescheduled for Monday, November 20. 

On social media, Swift expressed her sadness over the situation but stated that the well-being and safety of the crowd and her team “come first.” 

This tour is Swift’s first in Brazil, and she’ll be performing a total of six sold-out shows in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. 

On Friday, the heat contributed to the death of a Swift fan, as temperatures inside the stadium while the concert was taking place reached 60°C (140°F). 

Twenty-three-year-old student Ana Clara Benevides fell ill during Swift’s second song of the night and fainted. Firefighters brought her to a nearby hospital where she was pronounced dead of suspected cardiac arrest due to severe dehydration, according to local media reports. 

Student Ana Clara Benevides died during Taylor Swfit’s show on Friday

The death sparked a national outcry. Fans criticized the lack of free water and other cooling measures for those who spent hours in the grueling heat waiting to be let into the show. 

Authorities also reacted. Within hours, the federal government released a resolution requiring event companies to provide free water and hydration areas at shows on days with extreme heat. Rio de Janeiro’s government also demanded an explanation from the show’s organizers, T4F. 

The Public Prosecutor’s Officer and consumer protection agencies also launched investigations into possible neglect on the behalf of T4F. 

Bringing water bottles into the stadium was reportedly prohibited, forcing fans to buy water inside. However, a small 305ml cup of water cost R$8 (USD $1.60), and the supply of water for fans at the front was limited.

Rio de Janeiro authorities offered hydration points to fans only on Saturday

In addition to Benevides’ death, over 1,000 people reportedly fainted during Friday’s concert, according to firefighters. 

Following the public outcry and demands from authorities, T4F promised to improve hydration resources for Saturday’s show. On Saturday, there were more free water and medical stations placed around the stadium.