Glastonbury Tickets

I almost forgot. Twenty valuable minutes had already passed before I started my attempt to secure four tickets to Glastonbury 2007. Despite months of careful planning, pre-registration and the forwarding of details, I was late.

By the time I first hit the Glastonbury website it was already showing its busy page and indicating that hitting refresh wasn’t going to help anyone. I wasn’t too concerned about this, this was the front door and the congestion was expected. For such events I tend to go via the e-festivals website who kindly had the link directly to the ticket vendor. It was no great surprise that this link failed too and no busy page here, this was the server not responding.

In parallel to this, I was also occasionally dialling the telephone line but I only ever got the BT congested network message.

The nerves started to set in when the e-festivals forums weren’t responding either. This is a really useful site where internal links are often posted; alternate fail over servers, secure server URLs and things like that. It might have been close to ten minutes before the forums started to respond and I could read the posts of who had already succeeded in securing their tickets. Some very close to the current time. How? What were they doing that I wasn’t?

What followed was an hour or so of systematic probing of two servers over http and https, targeting various pages along the order process. There only two types of response; very occasionally a busy page, but more often than not the server would not be able to respond at all.

At this point I was pretty much resigned to the fact that I wouldn’t succeed in getting tickets when Mrs Teeth came in to see how I was getting on. Seeing how obviously crestfallen I was, she offered to try from the laptop. Hitting the Glastonbury site’s front door though resulted in exactly the same lack of response. I dutifully read out the side door page that was ticket vendors first page in the order process, while I continued poking around the more obscure addresses.

I glanced across an stared in disbelief as the page transition was not the white browser failure page, but a grey that could have only been served from the site. Then sure enough, the form to enter registration number appeared. She’d done it! Almost a first hit at it and there it was.

Five minutes later I was at the order confirmation page all complete. There had been one further glitch in a form submission, but pre-secure page and actually fortuitous as in the excitement I wasn’t reading the small print properly and I’d put the wrong registration number in first. Again Mrs Teeth was on hand here, calming me down.

This has turned into a simple account of a Sunday morning but what was bugging me all the way through was the failure in infrastructure.

Firstly, the telephone network. Not an engaged tone or “all our lines are busy”. Then there’s ticket vendor and there servers being unable to respond.

Now I don’t mean to be unreasonable. I can totally accept that the vendor would be able to process only a certain and probably quite small amount of financial transactions at a given time. Server load however should have been far more easy to handle. They would know exactly what to expect. There are several years of president to work from and even more information this year as they know exactly how many people had registered for tickets back over a month before.

I just don’t think they’re bothered. Just like the previous vendor wasn’t bothered. They shift all the tickets in less than two hours, so so-what if a few people are tearing their hair out and cursing.

Maybe it doesn’t matter. Nobody is at a real advantage. I have a pretty good understanding of what I was doing and what might have a better chance of success, but it was my wife who sailed in at the eleventh hour and got through. And she’s not even going!

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