Taylor Swift has been slammed by fans after the Victoria Racing Club announced she will perform two songs from her hit album Lover at the 2019 Melbourne Cup.
When Swift performed at the 2016 US Formula One Grand Prix, the event saw record crowds.
At Flemington on November 5, she’ll do her mini set in the mounting yard, which means anyone with an $89 general admission ticket will be able to see the Grammy winner shake it off.
“I can’t wait to come to Melbourne, and I can’t wait to come to the Melbourne Cup. I’ve heard so much about the race,” said Swift, who is touring in Europe.
But while the 29-year-old – who in July topped Forbes” list of the world’s highest paid celebrities – is keen to giddy up, furious fans claimed she had ridden roughshod over animal rights activists with her decision to sing at an event they consider notorious.
After last year’s Cup, Irish runner The Cliffsofmoher was euthanised on the Flemington track as horrified punters watched on. Horses have also died in previous years.
The ‘Swifties’ took to social media to vent at the You Need to Calm Down singer, urging her to reconsider.
“Taylor … are you sure?” asked one, while others called her decision “disappointing”. Wrote one Twitter user, ” A horse race? I’m done.”
One fan told Swift “This event promotes animal cruelty.” Tweeted another, “The Melbourne Cup is a pretty excellent example of animal abuse – usually one horse dies every year or so.”
Others were fine with it.
“Hope she sings Horses,” tweeted one fan.
With a global reach of one billion viewers, the Melbourne Cup should feature world-class entertainment to match the racing, according to VRC CEO Neil Wilson.
“To think you can come to Flemington and watch not only the race that stops a nation but see one of the world’s biggest, if not the biggest, entertainer perform for the cost of a general admission ticket is phenomenal,” Mr Wilson said in a statement.
The Cup gig is Swift’s only scheduled performance in Australia, where Lover has already racked up one billion streams after its August 23 release.
In 2014 US model Gigi Hadid flew in for the Melbourne Cup but left the track when she heard runner Admire Rakti was euthanised after the 3200m event.
Mr Wilson said the VRC had been considering Swift for a while before negotiations were finalised. Last year, British songwriter Sam Smith performed.
“It’s been in the making for a few months,” he told the ABC.
We looked at the artists around the world and tried to find the best match for what we do here.
Swift is a strategic choice to target “more and more of the next generation coming through,” he said.
Mr Wilson would not confirm how much the global sensation will be paid to play for ten minutes.
The VRC boss also wouldn’t buy into who was the VRC’s plan B if Swift turned them down.
“I can’t let on to who we might have had and I can’t comment on the price,” he said.