Explore Issue 01 of LOOP Magazine

Featuring Sam Tompkins and Victor Ray as our cover stars, as well as internal spreads from Girli, Jords, Mysie, Finn Askew, Kara Marni and Master Peace

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Meet The Girls Travelling Europe to see Harry Styles

I’d follow you to any place, if it’s Hollywood or Bishopsgate, I’m coming too,” sang Styles on his latest album, Harry’s House, and some of his fans will do just that. Harry Styles’ pop culture pull has been witnessed by all over the last couple of years. Whether it be through his musical endeavours, Gucci collaborations, television appearances or acting debuts, Styles has become more of a household name than many ever thought possible. The release of his latest album back in May has only propelled him further to the dizzying heights of stardom, with one of his tracks present on social media at every twist and turn. Hell, Music For A Sushi Restaurant is even on the new Apple advert. 

But since the announcement of this tour, which came way back in 2019, fans, also known as ‘Harries’, have been eagerly awaiting their chance to finally see the man of the moment. And now that moment has finally come, some are hoping to follow him on as many dates as possible, chasing him around the continent to catch a glimpse of him on stage. 

We spoke to those fans, some of whom have travelled from as far away as the US to find out why they’re here, why they love the affectionately dubbed ‘Fruit Man’ so much, and what they wish others would know about life on the road. 

Ana, 21, is Mass Media and Communications student from Austria, who will be seeing Styles in both Munich and Vienna. She’s one of many who are eagerly awaiting the star’s return to Eastern Europe, but for her, these shows will be even more special.

“I joined the One Direction fandom in 2012 so this will be my first time seeing him [Harry] after nearly ten years as a fan. I grew up in Eastern Europe which no one really visits when it comes to concerts – we’re kind of secluded from the rest of the world. Where he’s been such a vital part of my life the last decade, and, not having the opportunity to go to shows like these growing up is why I’ve decided to attend twice.”

Styles preaches a slogan; ‘Treat People With Kindness’, and it’s one that remains front and centre at all of his shows. Whether it’s branded-on merch or performed on the stage, it’s a very much spoken unspoken rule at any of his appearances. When I asked Ana why she loved Harry, it was a sentiment echoed by many. “I grew up with him. He’s been a vital part of my life over the last decade, and I can’t imagine a time without him. Whenever I feel bad about myself or the day I’m having, his music just lifts me back up. It’s such a wonderful thing to grow up with a celebrity, even though you don’t technically know them, you feel like they’re right by your side.”

“His spirit, his music, everything about him is so special. Whenever I feel bad about myself or the day I’m having, his music just lifts me back up.”

Whilst for some this experience is a deeply personal one, others are excited to simply meet others who share the same passion. The world of music fandom in modern society has imploded with the rise of new technologies. Fans congregate on social media to share news, updates, photos and of course, their excitement for new music whenever anything gets released. Some have become well known within this community, advocating for others to start relinquishing former ideologies and moving towards a more progressive and positive view of fans. 

Laurel Melsom is one of those people. With a combined following of over 35,000 people, she preaches embracing your fangirl persona and is well known throughout the Harry fandom. She started the platform That Fangirl Life back in 2020, where alongside a team of other like-minded women, champions female fans around the world. Attending 7 dates herself, she has documented her whole experience so far online, asking fans what colour they think Harry will wear on stage that evening, and offering mini vlogs of the day on her Tik Tok channel

It was through this experience she met Lauren, 24, from New Jersey in the US. She flew over to attend all six UK and Ireland dates, and still intends to do more – gearing up for Paris and Belgium in July. Alongside several of her online friends, they travelled around the country to follow Harry to quite literally, any place. In a video she sends from Herbert Park, Dublin, she tells me about all the people she’s met along the way.

“I think the reason I decided to go to so many is because I’ve made friends who also love to do it; to camp and experience the shows just as much as I do, and once you start, it’s almost like you can’t stop. You want to keep reliving that experience with your friends, whether it’s walking back to your hotels from the stadium or just reminiscing over funny moments. It’s a super exciting and exhilarating experience.”

A question many have asked when looking at these fans is how they have afforded to attend so many of these shows; because it’s not just the tickets themselves. It’s the flights, the accommodation, the food, the merchandise – which is not cheap to be clear, the taxis and of course, those often-extravagant outfits. Following a tour for several dates works out to be an expensive affair, but one that Lauren, like many others, does not regret at all. 

“I have a part-time job and then two full-time jobs basically”…,” she explains to me quite openly. Lauren is somewhat of a superstar on Tik Tok, with nearly 250,000 followers, and an impressive 11 million likes on her channel. Using the revenue generated from her Creator Fund, she has been able to pull together enough to experience this leg of the tour in its entirety. “It just so happened that I was able to get the time off to come so, between a lot of saving up and not having a lot of outside expenses other than experiences like this, I was able to make it happen.”

Amanda, 27 is a fellow fan from the US, but now lives and works in London. Like Lauren, she attended all six of the UK and Ireland dates and will also be heading to the continent for Hamburg, Oslo, Stockholm, Paris and Budapest. “Live music brings me so much joy and Harry’s shows are top tier. Even if he is singing the same setlist every show, each show feels different,” she tells me. “When tickets originally went on sale in 2019, I had just quit a high-paying job in America and moved to the UK for grad school. I bought most of the tickets then because I had a lot of cash and a lot of free time during grad school.” Due to the pandemic, the tour had been rescheduled several times, and many of the arenas upgraded to stadiums to accommodate the influx of new fans. “I am a huge Harry (and One Direction) fan, and I knew it was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me to be able to travel easily. I figured if I live in London and have this side of the world at my fingertips I might as well take advantage of that! Once the new tour was announced I saved up all my holiday at work and here we are.”

It’s easy to forget the events of the last few years as everyone begins settling back into normal life. Little over a year ago, the nation was still in a monotonous cycle of lockdowns and non-lockdowns, but to see 90,000 people packed into Wembley Stadium is a reminder of how far we’ve come. For Hayley, 25, she wanted to use these shows as a chance to really get back into the swing of things. “I went to Radio One’s Big Weekend, Manchester and Wembley also. I went to so many shows because lockdown really took its toll on me, much like It did everybody else, so I feel like this was my way of introducing myself back into the world. When I told people how many shows I was going to, people thought I was absolutely mental, particularly for ‘watching the same gig’ over and over again. But I’d see it every day if I could – the sleep deprivation was so worth it!”

“Harry has helped me in more ways than anybody else could, and even though we are all strangers to him, we are treated like family. But, if he’s ever free for a pint, I’m always available!”

Words by Issy Aldridge

Posted On 4 October, 2022