Saturday 3 April 2004

Yesterday turned out to be quite emotional. 8pm on Thursday night Glastonbury tickets went on sale. There are about 120,000 of these, and because of the problems last year (where touts got hold of loads of tickets meaning that the event sold out in 24 hours and that fans were being forced to pay huge amounts for their tickets), this year was supposed to be different. Hmmm. No credit cards. One ticket agency. Only 2 tickets per person. Each person you were buying a ticket for needed to be named and give an address. Great.

So what happens then? at 8pm the ticketing website collapses under the demand, and the phone isn't even engaged - you just get a BT message telling you that the demand is massive and you can't be connected.

I gave up after an hour to go and watch 24 and Black Books. Went back to the computer after that, and if anything, things were worse. The website sometimes let you enter your details, but then hung when you tried to submit them. The phone was a total no-no. I gave up about midnight, but tried again between 3am and 4am. No joy. Did a bit of research on the glastonbury message boards and made a note that some people were talking about a Nottingham number that seemed to at least be ringing. I was tired, and not sure what to make of a non-official sounding number, so wrote it down and went back to bed. At 06:30 I gave up on the website, which was no better, and started calling the Nottingham number once I learnt that it was the wayahead international booking number (they are based in Nottingham). Within about 30 minutes my call was answered and I had my tickets.

Went to work, and tried to keep tabs on my various mates who are trying to get tickets. One Nottingham based friend got some about 8am after I told her about the 0115 number. By the end of the day, none of my other mates (none!) had any joy at all, despite trying all day. When I get home about 6pm I hear that another Nottingham based friend had got her tickets. Rang up my mate Rich, took his details and started calling the 0115 number for him - maybe something to do with a local exchange getting priority??? Got his tickets. Then got tickets for my mate Jamie and his wife. By now it was about 8pm and I was totally unable to get hold of the last couple of friends who still needed tickets. When he finally rang, I took his details and started calling the booking line again.... they seemed to have started to get on top of things at the call centre now, because there was some sort of a queuing system in place that hadn't been there in the morning - if you got into that, then you knew you would be answered in a few minutes. After another 30 mins or so I got in the queue, only for an operator to pick up and to tell me personally that they had just sold out! Gutted. I think I did really well to get as many tickets for my friends as I did, but this was a real downer.

I'm really glad I got some tickets, but I'm a bit pissed off with Glastonbury to be honest. How could they not have anticipated this sort of demand? Why were the headliners announced the day before? Oasis alone could probably sell out 100000 tickets in a day (all of them from the burberry cap brigade). Michael Eavis made the point that they could have sold out in 5 minutes, but would that have been a good thing? Well, I take his point... but if the alternative is having some people trying for 20 hours and still not getting a ticket, then that's not good enough. I heard him on Radio 5 Live at midnight saying how there were some guys on the way down the motorway to help with the website, and that they had 60 operators selling about 100 tickets a minute. Only 60 operators? Why so few? By the morning only 60,000 tickets had been sold. That's a lot of tickets, but considering the demand, it's ridiculously small. I am so pleased I am going, but this has surely got to stop. I think I have been able to get sorted because of a happy geographical accident that I live near their telephone exchange... good for me, and for the other people I got tickets on behalf of. It does leave something of a sour taste though.

On a positive note though, I was ecstatic to find out this morning that Morrissey has

(a) got a new single coming out in May ("Irish Blood, English Heart")

(b) got a new album coming out in May ("You are the Quarry")

(c) is playing Glastonbury this year

I head the single played this morning on Six Music (I love my digital radio) and it's really good! how exciting! I get to see one of my all-time musical heroes!


"Turning Thirty" by Mike Gayle - an easy and engaging read given to me by Lucycat at the Nottingham meet


"Immigrant Song (and I love this link!)" - Led Zeppelin (off Remasters)

"This Saturday Boy" - Billy Bragg (off Must I Paint You a Picture)

right. I'm off to find a laptop wallet for my new IBM Thinkpad T40 (work laptop, since you ask...) It's "an object of geek desire" apparently... yikes!

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