Glastonbury site 'slow but not down'

Glastonbury site 'slow but not down'

Summary: 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'

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TOPICS: Tech Industry
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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".

Topic: Tech Industry

Andrew Donoghue

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Andrew Donoghue is a freelance technology and business journalist with over ten years on leading titles such as Computing, SC Magazine, BusinessGreen and ZDNet.co.uk.

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60 comments
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  • I've trying to use the site on and off since 8pm yesterday... and it hasn't handled things well at all.

    I've got through with a completed form a few times only to be bounced back with messages telling me there weren't enough tickets to meet my request (what, not two tickets spare?) or that there was a general, unspecified error with my application although what it was I had no way of checking.

    All in all a very frustrating and badly organised time!
    anonymous
  • re: your article on Glastonbury, and the facetious response from the organisers:
    'She said: "The phone lines are working really well. Keep trying. We’ve sold 60,000. They’re going at a rate of about 100 per minute. But please keep trying. Nothing has crashed. Don’t worry. There’s nothing that’s not working and everything’s running well."'

    The website is extremely poorly designed - understandably the site was busy so some delays are expected. But even once you got through to the site there was no guarantee you would be able to purchase tickets.

    I tried constantly throughout Thursday night go log onto the site, and entered my debit card details, name, address, etc about 50 times. In nearly all cases, the Submit button caused the site to crash, erasing all the information I had entered.

    Occasionally I was told "there is a problem with some of the information you entered" but was not given a reason. At other times, using the exact same information, I was told "there was a problem with your card number".

    I finally got through - only to be told I was successful and to await an email confirming this. I am still waiting 6 hours later, and have not been given a confirmation number or any guarantee the tickets were really purchased.

    The site needs to restrict the number of users who are able to reach the secure page, then once they have entered their details they should be guaranteed access to the next stage. A confirmation number should be given for a successful transaction - just like every other e-commerce site in the universe.

    Re: the debit cards only debacle, and the assertion that "there are benefits for everyone. This measure has allowed the Festival to cut the booking fee charged from
    anonymous
  • It's My last year in the U.K .... :-( I have to get a ticket! Been up all night trying, now falling asleep at work after 2hrs sleep... AND STILL TRYING!!! Why oh Why !!!
    anonymous
  • I managed to purchase tickets this morning on behalf of my son.On the booking site, at the bottom when you go to submit the order nothing happens, it doesnt say order received/confirmed, but I received 3 emails telling me I had tickets.It looks like I have 6 tickets as they all have different reference numbers, I thought this system was foolproof and only 2 tickets per debit card were allowed
    anonymous
  • If anyone else can get through and book two tickets (one for me and one for my sister) I will give them the cost of the tickets plus
    anonymous
  • just got a ticket been up for 15 hours now but it was worth it!
    KEEP TRYING - i got through on the international line and so did my mate.
    anonymous
  • DREADFUL, 14HRS OF PHONIN AND BEIN ON THE WEBSITE WHY WAS THERE NO QUEUES
    SYSTEM
    anonymous
  • Having also been one of the 2 million trying, I have had various levels of success in being able to make an online booking.

    It is clear to me, in a very frustrated way, that the web site has been very badly designed. Adding more power isn't ever the solution.
    anonymous
  • FAO Simon, have you got an email address?

    May be able to help "for free"
    anonymous
  • Well the year I finally decide to go and I have no chance of getting a ticket. It is damn obvious from the demand that something needs to be done.

    Perhaps a lottery system - at least people would have a chance.

    PS - I am going anyway - They can arrest me as I go over the fence. I will happily pay them -
    Very upset
    anonymous
  • Sounds suspicious Simon
    anonymous
  • this method seems to work quite well:

    * sod the website

    * get as many colleagues as possible (who are in range, but do not want to go) to keep phoning as often as possible, offering copious amounts of booze/I.T favours etc to whoever gets through..
    anonymous
  • Nothing suspicious, just don't want to see people ripping themselves off. Just had a little tip to give!

    At no cost!
    anonymous
  • Having also been one of the 2 million trying, I have had various levels of success in being able to make an online booking.

    It is clear to me, in a very frustrated way, that the web site has been very badly designed. Adding more power isn't ever the solution.
    anonymous
  • My email address is simon.painter@empoweredlearning.co.uk

    All help gratefully accepted.
    anonymous
  • Just an update from my Comments in the article. We still haven't got tickets - none of our mates have got tickets. I live in Somerset 15 miles from the site and all the local radio stations are saying that the locals can't get tickets. This is an absolute disgrace and shambles.
    The one year I decide to go it comes down to this. Aloud.com I hope you learn from this but I doudt if you will, you'll just come up with another patronising excuse.
    anonymous
  • Lynne-- If you have 6 tickets then we will buy excess off you because we have been trying since 8pm last night and still can't get through.. Pleas do get back and let me know.. -owen
    anonymous
  • Anonymous-- Do you have any tips to help me purchase a ticket??
    anonymous
  • Its got to be the most poorly run fiasco i've seen, how could they not expect the amount of hits that they where going to get?? The fence was up last year too, so this seems like a very silly comment to make. They where not ready for it and should have not been employeed to sell tickets for this festival. There seemed to be nowhere to go as soon as the server had gone down. They should have had numerous servers dealing with different sections of the ordering process... Alas a money making company doesn't care that people will be pissing around on there site all nite.
    anonymous
  • This is a complete shambles - I'm an IT consultant used to assessing requirements for public-facing information systems. One glaring mistake - the handling of the form should have been done by a different server to the one from which it was obtained. That way processing is simplified and speeded up. Another mistake - the server providing the form is running https - typically 15x the overhead of a straighforward http exchange - YES - the submission of the form should be done via https but not the delivery to the user. Feeble thinking I'm afraid.

    And yes - I've been up most of the night without success - once got to the completed form stage and then the message that there were no more tickets - this at 22:15 Thursday night!
    Aloud and The Way Ahead Group Limited/See should never be trusted to do this again. Their head office phone number is 020 7837 1100 should you wish to make this point yourselves.

    Still trying with the ticket application ...
    anonymous