Anger over Rhythm and Vines sales

SHANE COWLISHAW
Last updated 15:55 22/05/2012
Summer pix Jan 17
Shannon Rolfe

BIG SUCCESS: Girls enjoy the last sunset of 2011 at the Rhythm & Vines Music Festival.

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Angry partygoers have lashed out at the organisers of Gisborne festival Rhythm and Vines after the ticket website crashed this morning.

Early bird tickets for the popular three-day event went on sale this morning via the Rhythm and Vines website.

But it was unable to handle the thousands of eager fans attempting to snap up a ticket and crashed, taking money from several people's accounts without issuing tickets.

Frustrated ticket buyers took to social media to vent their frustration, with several angry comments left on the festival's website.

Liz Gosling said she attempted to buy a $295 combo ticket for her daughter and after 20 attempts managed to log in, only to be told she had to buy a camping-only ticket.

The site then crashed several times and when it eventually came back up the price had risen to $369, she said.

Several others reported that money had been taken out of their account but no confirmation email had been received and the site still informed them they were yet to buy a ticket.

"My bank statement shows $660 going out but I still have the full amount in money available. Clear contact has been made to the bank with my credit card payment, yet no email. What a f**k up," Zac Emmerson wrote.

Rhythm and Vines sales and marketing manager Peter Hall said the "regrettable" situation had been caused by a massive underestimation in demand for the tickets.

Last year during presales about 4000 tickets had been sold but demand today had been double that, he said.

An initial error in the new ticketing system meant the site had to be shut down soon after tickets went on sale this morning, but when it was relaunched about 4000 people were trying to access the site at the same time which overloaded the server.

The demand meant that when some people had paid their credit card details were verified at a secure third-party site, but the verification was not sent back to the Rhythm and Vines site.

Hall assured ticket buyers that they would receive their ticket confirmation soon and the customer service team was working through every payment manually to confirm them.

"It's a real shame and obviously from our perspective it's extremely regrettable.

"It's not something we want to see happen to our customers and we really regret it."

The ticketing site was now working normally, he said.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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