MISSED OUT: Alana Dawes, 17, (left) and Madelyn Brookes 14, both of Ballina, missed out on Splendour in the Grass tickets. Pict
MISSED OUT: Alana Dawes, 17, (left) and Madelyn Brookes 14, both of Ballina, missed out on Splendour in the Grass tickets. Pict

Online ticketing a splendid mess

By Fay Knight

ANGRY music fans have labelled the new online ticketing system for Splendour in the Grass a 'spectacular failure'.

Ballina High School student Alana Dawes, 17, was one of thousands to miss out on a pass to the Byron Bay music festival on Monday.

All ready at 8.55am to get her tickets online, she followed the prompts carefully, over and over ? for five and a half exhausting and disappointing hours. She even had to get her mum to take over so that she could go to the bathroom and not miss her place.

But when the 'sold out' sign came up she was not just disappointed, but furious.

"I had two free periods first thing so I was prepared," said Alana. "The system put you into a virtual waiting room and you could see a stick figure representing where you were in the queue. The first time I got to fourth in line when I was bumped off. You were warned not to refresh the screen, but I hadn't touched it.

"I kept going through the steps and had two screens operating trying to get tickets but it kept failing. Even though it was supposed to be on a 'first come, first served' basis it clearly wasn't working that way, as sometimes the second screen would show me further ahead in the queue than the first one I had logged on to."

Alana wasn't alone in this, as she discovered when she checked out the festival's MySpace website, which was already full of similar complaints.

"I was worried it was just me, but there were people there who had managed to get tickets much later in the day and so many who had been there at 9am and stayed all day and not managed," said Alana.

She tried phoning the company but could only leave a message, and finally got a phoned apology yesterday. However, 'Alice', who called, didn't admit any problem with the ticketing system.

Organisers issued a media statement saying Oztix IT infrastructure had been 'upscaled' to cope with increased demand this year, but: "The popularity of Splendour in the Grass again caught everyone by surprise."

The system experienced unprecedented demand, up 100 per cent on last year.



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