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Taylor Swift performs onstage during the Eras Tour at SoFi Stadium on August 7, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. Michael Buckner / Variety via Getty Images

This is the summer of Taylor Swift. But does she get to have a summer of her own?

The pop star was mobbed outside of a Jersey Shore restaurant last weekend, leading to criticism of fans. What compelled them to go?

/ Source: TODAY

In a year where the Federal Reserve says the "Eras Tour" has literally helped fuel the U.S. economy, Taylor Swift is, in many ways, the woman of the moment.

But after a weekend on the Jersey Shore when fans swarmed a restaurant where Swift was in attendance at producer Jack Antonoff's wedding rehearsal dinner, some are wondering: Where should people draw the line between fangirling and frightening?

The restaurant, the Black Whale, is located on Long Beach Island, a small strip of land off of the Jersey coastline where Antonoff once filmed a segment for TODAY in 2013, explaining his connection with the island.

Read on to hear from LBI locals and vacationers about what happened.

What exactly happened on Long Beach Island?

Kevin Ketchel, owner of Dock & Claw Clam Bar located across the street from the Black Whale, says mayhem and excitement reigned the night L.A. came to LBI.

Every time a celebrity at Antonoff's party approached the restaurant balcony for the mobile bar, people eating at Dock & Claw would run outside to try and catch a glimpse, Ketchel tells

"You could hear screeches," Ketchel says. "And then we were trying to clean up the tables. We're like, 'Is this person done or are they out there watching Taylor?' It was pretty crazy. There were screams every — who knows — every 10 minutes."

One person even offered Ketchel's business partner $500 dollars to allow a young child to stand on his truck, which was parked in front of Dock & Claw, and get a better view of Swift, he says.

"As fans too, not just as parents — there were older adults crying,” Ketchel says. "There were grown adult men and women tearing up when they saw her walking."

“There were grown adult men and women tearing up when they saw her walking.”

Kevin Ketchell on taylor Swift in LBI

Mike Cabellon, 34, was visiting the island with his girlfriend at the time of the hubbub. He tells the community had anticipated some crowd turnout with people hoping to catch a glimpse of the celebrities attending Antonoff's wedding.

"A lot of the businesses around here had signs (about it). There's an ice cream place that had 'milk-shake it off,' and cute little 'please stop by our business' kind of signs," Cabellon says. "One business had a sign that said, 'Welcome, Lana Del Rey.'"

Liza Graziano, 59, was spending Saturday night on the deck of her friend's house, which is next to the restaurant where the wedding was held. She tells that the scene was more of a "controlled chaos" compared to what she had heard about the rehearsal dinner the previous night.

"We saw the whole wedding party going from one restaurant to the other, from the cocktail hour to the dinner and everything. We were right there," Graziano says.

Cabellon and Graziano both say the crowd on Saturday, the night of Antonoff's actual wedding, was much more contained than on Friday night during the rehearsal dinner.

What motivated these crowds to form?

The Beatles were trailed by fans in a phenomenon so gargantuan it got its own name: Beatlemania. Is the modern expression of fandom really so different? No and yes, thanks to the internet.

Justine Mastin, a psychotherapist and writer with a focus on pop culture and psychology, says that although people who went to see Swift on Long Beach Island have been facing heat online over what some call an invasion of her privacy, she "comes from a place of compassion for them."

"Someone likes your tweet who you're a big fan of and you get that little spark of joy, like, 'Oh wow, they noticed me,'" Mastin says. "And when you feel that strong attachment, you're kind of looking for those little sparks, and if you know where someone is going to be having dinner, and you can have more than just a little spark of them liking your tweet — they might wave at you or you might get a picture with them — the draw is really strong."

But according to Avigail Lev, a psychotherapist based in the Bay Area, the Jersey Shore incident illustrates the dangers of modern-day parasocial, or one-sided, relationships, which often develop more strongly in the context of loneliness and feelings of disconnect.

Platforms enable fans to engage with celebrities in a way that creates an illusion of intimacy, despite the lack of reciprocity or depth.

psychotherapist Avigail Lev

"Platforms enable fans to engage with celebrities in a way that creates an illusion of intimacy, despite the lack of reciprocity or depth," Lev writes in a statement to "This has led to a glamorization of one-sided connections that has contributed to the blurry lines between fantasy and real relationships."

This breach of social etiquette says a clear sign, per Dolores: "Fans are so invested in their idols that they do not see them as human, but rather something for them to use for emotional benefit."

Did Taylor Swift react?

Though Swift has not released any public statements about the incident, one TikTok going viral online has resurfaced a diary entry included in a booklet in the "Lover" album deluxe edition, which may help to shed light on Swift's sentiments towards these types of crowd experiences.

"I still get so anxious when I see a group of people staring en masse outside pointing camera phones," Swift wrote. "They could never imagine how much that feels like being hunted."

Swift has also spoken about how her negative experiences with being in the public eye have influenced the themes of her song lyrics.

In a 2020 interview with Rolling Stone, she described her song "Peace" from the "Folklore" album as being about the impossibility of normalcy in her life of fame.

"Whether that’s deciding where to live, who to hang out with, when to not take a picture — the idea of privacy feels so strange to try to explain, but it’s really just trying to find bits of normalcy," Swift said. "That’s what that song 'Peace' is talking about. Like, would it be enough if I could never fully achieve the normalcy that we both crave?"

How did Swifties react?

On Twitter and TikTok, many Swifties expressed frustration over what Swift experienced on Long Beach Island.

"My initial reaction was exasperation (and) a little bit of an anger," Dia Osnas, a self-proclaimed Swiftie, tells "Because I'm a bit protective of her privacy and we do know that she talks a lot about it in her songs — how she feels like she's not (treated like_ a person."

Osnas adds that she believes the fans who came to the Black Whale to see Swift were crossing a line because "you wouldn’t do that to a person who you know in real life.”

"I feel like it's a natural instinct to want to see or catch a glimpse of someone you really admire or you know, are a fan of, but you have to keep it in check," Osnas says. "For example, if you have a crush or something ... knowing the social etiquette, you don't crash by either invading their privacy or crossing their boundaries."

Mastin ultimately shared a similar invitation for fans who may have sought (or will seek) to see Swift in real life, outside of her official events.

"Remember that Taylor is a real person in addition to all these other things, and (think about) what boundaries would be appropriate when dealing with her as we would deal with other humans in the world," Mastin says.