The annual stampede to buy tickets for the Glastonbury festival turned into a farce today as demand swamped the online sales site.
Instead of being able to buy tickets, would-be festival goers were confronted by a series of messages telling them the system was busy or unavailable. The problem has persisted into this afternoon (2 April). The back-end system at wayahead-secure.co.uk - a few Win 2K boxes running IIS, apparently - seems hopelessly overstretched.
Reader Oliver Denton's experiences are typical.
"Last night I tried to buy tickets for the Glastonbury festival online, and after 4 hours of either 'this service is very busy, please try again later' and straight browser errors (no pretty error message) I went to bed angry," he writes.
"On the odd occasion I did get through to the .asp credit card processing script, however it seemed that so many other people were using this too that it's reaction time was akin to that of Ben Johnson before he started taking steroids."
Phone lines (allegedly available on 0870 830 2004) were jammed solid too.
Have these people learned nothing from the experience of the Census site, the launch of Nectar and the communications meltdown that accompanied the sale of tickets for the French World Cup?
Apparently not, because Glastonbury Festival actually has the gall to boast that "over two million unique user hits between 7pm and 8pm last night - and that was before the tickets went on sale! At one minute past eight over 300,000 hit the website and that level was sustained until well after 2.00am."
Organisers claim tickets are been sold online, albeit slowly.
According to latest available update, 70 per cent of tickets have been sold. Last year, tickets sold out within 24 hours.
It's a perfect recipe for touts. Indeed one joker has already begun punting tickets on eBay. ®