Glastonbury site 'slow but not down'

The demand for Glastonbury tickets was beyond all estimations, says the company hosting its online booking site - but it claims that some people 'are getting through'

The company handling the online tickets sales for Glastonbury 2004 claims that despite being bombarded by an unprecedented two million users on Thursday night, the site is still functioning -- albeit slowly.

Reports circulating around the Web claiming that the site had melted due to record demand were denied by a spokesperson for Aloud.com, owned by Emap Performance Interactive Solutions, who said that the site was still functioning and tickets were still being sold.

"Some people are getting through. What can I say, it's a phenomenon. It's unbelievable to think we had two million people at one time hitting the site last night. But tickets are being sold; it's simply that supply can't match demand," she said.

But despite Aloud's assurances, would-be festival goers have been left frustrated and disappointed. "Last night I thought I would order mine on the Net, as you do when you work in IT.  The stipulation was that the site would not be open until 20:00 but you could go in and fill out your details on the booking form and then submit them when the time had come.  At 20:03 the Web server had a total meltdown and hasn't been seen since.  I honestly don't think anyone has got any tickets from it.  Or if they did, they were bloody lucky," said Nic Saint, IT Officer, The Wessex Reserve Forces and Cadets Association, Somerset.

About 80,000, or 80 percent, of the total 104,000 tickets allocated for this year's festival are expected to be sold online this year. At the time of writing, despite some reports that the festival has sold out, there are still an estimated 30,000 tickets left, according to Aloud.com.

Aloud claims that extra "bandwidth and capacity" were added to its infrastructure in preparation for the event but that the traffic levels were completely unexpected. "It's gone crazy. We did build in extra capacity, but did we expect two million people to hit the site? Who would have thought of that? How much capacity can we have?" the spokeswoman said.

Aloud claims that the whole process has been slowed by the new security measures introduced this year to avoid ticket touting. Tickets can only be bought using debit cards, and names and addresses must be supplied, which slows down the whole process significantly. The spokesperson said that despite clear instructions on the site, some people had still been "trying to jam their credit card numbers" into the site -- slowing processing still further.

According to the Aloud spokesperson, the show's organiser, Michael Eavis, was "extremely annoyed" after some tickets were sold on eBay for up to £800 last year and the change to the ticketing sales system was designed to prevent similar action this year.

The spokesperson put this year's unprecedented traffic levels down to people realising that they would be unable to jump the fences -- a traditional route into the alternative festival -- and opting for buying a ticket instead.

Click here to read Rupert Goodwins' "Crashing out at Glastonbury".

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