Record sell-out for Glastonbury Festival 2013

The Ticketlab team had a tense morning on Sunday. All of the machines were humming and the atmosphere was only pierced by the relentless clicking of keyboards. This was red alert: Glastonbury tickets going on sale.

You’d think that with the sharpest minds in ticketing on the case that we’d have no trouble, but in truth it took over an hour of feverish refreshing before we’d secured tickets. Competition for tickets was even harder this year, with a new ticketing system in place and the maximum number you can order being raised to 8 – it was never going to be an easy ride. Once we’d got through however, it was easy enough to get through another couple of times to help out friends who had been constantly refused connection to the site (or who may have not been as scientific in their approach!).

How to get tickets using See Tickets’ new Glastonbury ticket booking site

So, what’s the secret to Glastonbury’s ticketing system? How do you get tickets for the best festival around?¬†You don’t have to be a scientist to do it: here’s Ticketlab’s guide to the Glastonbury ticketing system for this year – we know it’s too late for the main sale, but should be useful for the re-sale in Spring next year. Some of these techniques will help you on other ticket sites for other events as well.

  • Have patience. The site will be near impossible to get through to for at least half an hour from the time tickets go on sale, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying that early – you just need to be prepared to be in for the long-haul.
  • simply redirects you to a longer URL. The first time it does this, you can use this URL – it just means the server at the other end doesn’t need to redirect you manually before then processing the next stage.
  • Once you actually get a page that says you’re in a queue, you don’t need to wait for the timer to expire, just refresh again whenever the spinner on the current tab stops (meaning this page is loaded). With luck you’ll eventually get the “Enter registration details page”. When the timer expires, it only triggers a refresh anyway, so you’re only losing time by waiting.
  • Browser choice is important at this stage. By the time you’ve entered your registration number and postcode, you’ve probably lost your connection to the server. You’ll no-doubt get “Connection time out” again after you hit the “Process” button, but if you’re using Firefox you can hit refresh or “Try Again” and be given the option to Resend the data you just submitted. Chrome wasn’t allowing us to resend our form submission when we tried.
  • If you’ve been able to Resend the data you submitted from the form, your browser will keep trying to send that data – this means you won’t have to re-enter it again just ‘cos you lost connection to the site. Eventually, that data will get through. If your browser isn’t sending any data, the next page will simply return “Page not found” (as many of you will have discovered).
  • Once you get to the page asking you to confirm your deposit amount, the connection seems to be a lot more stable. We’re unsure why this is, but from this stage on we had no problem confirming the names and submitting payment on the next page.
  • Check to make sure your booking was confirmed – most pages in the flow past the detail conformation look the same, so scroll down and make sure your order was accepted.

There was a lot of talk on Twitter and various message boards about editing your Hosts file to point to a specific IP address. This is simply a way of by-passing See Tickets’ load balancer (which divides traffic between servers) and connecting to a specific machine using the same URL. By the time we at Ticketlab tried this, this server was as busy as the rest of the network, and it had become easy enough to get through via the regular means. We do know people who did gain their tickets by using this “hack”, but be wary of using such techniques as you have no way of knowing the authenticity of the site you’re actually connecting to (if someone gives you a bogus IP address, for example). The safest way to purchase tickets online is by using the URL provided by the event promoter on their website or on other marketing materials.

Of course, Ticketlab can’t guarantee these tips will get you tickets, but they should increase your chances. Don’t forget See Tickets and Glastonbury could change how they serve up their ticketing system at any time, so this is in no way a bible – just use your noggin and keep your cool.

If you’re looking to set up an event or a festival, don’t forget you can use Ticketlab to sell Tickets in addition to any other ticket sale methods you may have already implemented – by using multiple ticket agents you can ensure your customers don’t run into the traffic volume issues experienced by “the many thousands who missed out” on Glastonbury tickets this year.

11 thoughts on “Record sell-out for Glastonbury Festival 2013

  1. Good advice, I got my tickets this year by resending the data after my connection repeatedly timed out.
    I’ve also found, both this time around and in previous years, that I have more luck when using my phone’s 3G internet. I don’t know if this is something to do with it accessing different servers, or merely a coincidence though.

  2. We actually had lots of positive reports about 3G internet getting through – worth a try, but I can’t tell you the science behind it!

  3. It’s good to hear there’s no real cheats to this – and actually it was just perseverance and luck that got people through. I wasn’t that lucky although I did most of the above. After seetickets abomination of a service 2 years ago (screams of Why don’t they use some decent traffic management!!!!) I came to realise that they will never sort out the ticketing system because frankly, they don’t need to. They don’t need to provide a good customer expereince because, as this year proves, they managed to sell out in 1 hr 40 mins. Why would they change a thing? What I’m interested to know is whether the overall profile of ticketholders this year will be different because the old-school, and those who were less aggressive or IT savvy, wouldn’t have stood a chance. And indeed does this mean Glasto as it used to be known is now over?

  4. Totally agree Kathy – as far as we know you can’t game the system, just increase your chances of successfully submitting an order. One of the things we’re hoping to deliver at Ticketlab is a system so simple to both set up and order through that anyone can use it.
    The Ticket industry has been so stagnant for years now – the big ticket operators believe they’re the only show in town and there’s no need to improve – that people are almost resigned to inefficient or downright unusable systems.
    We’ll see how this year’s ticketing system affects the demographic at the festival – but with a bit of luck Glastonbury at least will try and ensure a more even playing field for everyone in future years – even if it’s just by reducing the maximum number of tickets you can order at once back to 4.

  5. I must have been extremely lucky and ‘won the lottery’ 4 times. I used an ipad and the good old fashioned internet explorer and got through 4 times in the first 20 minutes to buy 30 tickets! Surely that just cant be luck! Can it?

  6. I wondered about the crowd make up back in 2005 ( after quite a few years out the country ), because of the ticket buying process. Found the crowd just the same as when I started going in the early 90’s

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