Glastonbury online ticket sales fiasco

Mud, mud, in-glorious mud

The annual stampede to buy tickets for the Glastonbury festival once again swamped the online sales site.

Tickets went on sale from the official site, (GlastonburyFestivals.co.uk) via seetickets.com, from 09:00 BST on Sunday (1 April).

Instead of being able to buy tickets, many would-be festival goers were confronted by a series of messages telling them the system was busy or unavailable. The back-end system at seetickets.com - a a network of Windows servers running IIS 6, apparently - were hopelessly overstretched. Phone lines were jammed solid too.

Hopes that the registration system, designed to prevent touting, would result in a smoother sales process went unfulfilled. Only the 400,000 people who pre-registered were allowed to buy the 137,500 festival tickets available to the public. Those lucky enough to get through snapped up tickets in just one hour and 45 minutes.

Festival organisers said they were happy with the sales process despite the fact websites and phone lines struggled to cope.

"Its a great system. It's the first time it's ever been done - it's just gone so well it's just unbelievable. The system has worked really, really well and it's a first," Michael Eavis, who owns the farm where the festival is based, told the BBC.

"Unfortunately there will be a lot of people that will be disappointed. Only two in three get through, but such is the demand of the festival."

In recent years demand has always outstripped supply for the Glastonbury festival. The pre-registration scheme, via which users had to submit photos, will discourage touting but many would-be festival goers who failed to get tickets were left angry at wasting a morning trying to get onto a site that proved almost impossible to access.

Once a connection had been established with the site it could be maintained permanently, allowing the lucky few to buy multiple tickets for themselves and their friends who had registered, as related in comments on a BBC story here.

Disappointed music fans are being given a second chance to buy tickets. On Sunday 22 April at 9.00am a limited number of tickets which have been returned, or where payments have been declined, will be placed on sale. ®

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