Folk festival’s online booking system causes problems

A high demand for tickets caused issues for many Shetland Folk Festival fans on Monday night as the festival website’s servers struggled to cope.

A number of attendees who had already purchased early membership to the festival were sitting primed and ready to purchase tickets for their favoured concerts the moment they went on sale at 6pm.

Unfortunately for these keen customers the festival servers struggled to cope with the unprecedented demand which resulted in outages.

A handful of the speediest customers were said to have been able to purchase tickets before a crashed server left the site unable to recognise membership numbers.

Clive Gee of Whiteness, a customer who had already purchased early membership, described the booking system as a “complete fiasco”.

Mr Gee explained that it took him over an hour to book tickets “with at least a dozen outages in the process”. That forced him to “restart the process from scratch”.

Comments from concerned ticket purchasers also flooded the festival’s Facebook page. Many noted that a glitch appeared to be affecting their ability to purchase concessions tickets

One user, Sally Millar, wrote: “I have tried to buy concession tickets but it will not recognise my membership unless I buy full price adult tickets.”

Mhari Pottinger issued a response to Mr Gee’s letter on behalf of the festival committee.

She said: “We would just like to take this opportunity to apologise to him and the many other customers who possibly experienced frustration and stress during this process.

“The server capacity proved insufficient for the highest peaks of demand, and this did undoubtedly cause some temporary frustrations for our customers.

“Last year, exactly the same server set up worked with almost no problems at all, in line with the predictions of our load testing. This year, ticket sales have been exceptional.

“The Shetland Folk Festival website and booking system is managed by a small IT team working on an entirely voluntary basis, with essentially no budget for servers and such like.

“Nevertheless, we hope our customers will be reassured that we do have plans in place to increase our server capacity significantly for the opening night of tickets sales in 2017.”

Festival volunteers worked hard to resolve the server issues and after an hour they announced that the booking system was back up and fully operational.


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