How Ticket Sales Broke Barriers for Glastonbury 2019
by Alex Painter, on 10/11/18
Glastonbury remains the most in-demand UK festival so it’s no longer a surprise to see the website crash on mainstream ticket-release day. The 2019 event sold out in 30 minutes, with a record number of people trying to buy tickets.
The data our team collected from Monitoring Insights shows how the website suffered at times. This is despite Seetickets– the official ticket sales platform – reducing the size of its Glastonbury page by around two thirds. This could have been a deliberate attempt to deliver a faster page under load. If so, it was largely successful. The graph below shows how load times (green/red bars) fell after page size (grey area) was cut.
However, there was an outage at around 9am on Sunday when the tickets went on general release (illustrated by the very long red bars). This affected not just the ticketing page but also the Seetickets homepage for a short period of time.
Clearly, Glastonbury knows the traffic storm that is coming. And as long as there’s a period when the site is unavailable, they’ll never have complete visibility of the number of people looking to purchase. Fans today are also multi screening, increasing traffic even further. This can make it difficult to predict traffic levels ahead of the all-important load test, and most organizations test well in excess of the predicted number of visitors for that reason. Still, there are no guarantees, and we’ve seen time and again that no one is too big to fail.
But do the organizers care? The festival committee can see the coffers filling up rapidly as tickets fly out the door. They know they’re going to sell out, and would-be customers don’t have the option of shopping around. Most site owners don’t have that luxury. Those gearing up for Black Friday will need to load test, optimize and keep their fingers crossed as they look to maximize revenue and preserve their reputation during peak.