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Last Updated: Friday, 2 April, 2004, 11:56 GMT 12:56 UK
'My night chasing Glastonbury tickets'
By Christine Jeavans
BBC News Online staff

Hundreds of people have complained of their "nightmare" experiences of trying to get hold of tickets for this year's Glastonbury festival. Just how bad was it?

Grab of Aloud.com booking page error message
Aaargh! The sight that greets many visitors to the booking page
Glastonbury is a peaceful festival. I'm a peaceful person, trying to get tickets to that peaceful festival. But right now there is a woman whom I would cheerfully strangle. I don't know her name but her voice will be the stuff of my nightmares for weeks to come.

"Welcome to Aloud ticket agency. The lines are very busy, please call again later or try our website," she chirps on the rare occasion that I get anything but an engaged tone.

But I have been trying the sodding website, since 8 o'clock last night, the moment the tickets went on sale. I have hit back and refresh so many times I have got a frozen shoulder and what must be RSI in my right arm.

It feels like we would stand more chance of getting a golden ticket to Willy Wonka's chocolate factory
"Error the requested URL could not be retrieved," it says.

Or "The service is currently very busy, please try again a little later," or sometimes it tells me I have entered too many tickets (two) for the number they have left, please enter a smaller figure.

We were well prepared: me, my other half, Stuart, and 11 friends had worked out a list in which we would all ring each other when we had got tickets and then start trying for those who were still without.

Ha! Come this morning none of us had got even a sniff of being sent one of the magic pieces of paper entitling us to enter Worthy Farm.

Glastonbury 1971
It was much easier in the 70s to get tickets
At 2000 BST on the dot I had started phoning and clicking on the website. Stuart had a phone in each hand, City trader style.

Five hours later we were still there, eyes glazed, brains numbed by electromagnetic radiation and the trance-like beep-beep-beep of three phones' engaged tones.

I went to bed at 0130, Stuart turned in at 0300. Then I got up at 0530 and started trying again: "beep-beep-beep".

I went back to bed with my phone and shut my eyes, by now knowing by heart the key combination for redialling the number. "Beep-beep-beep".

Glastonbury litter squad
There's always the chance to work at the festival....
Six o'clock came and went, so did seven o'clock. "Beep-beep-beep".

At 0730, a tantalising pause, my heart leapt, could I have got through? "Welcome to Aloud ticket agency. The lines are very busy..."


This morning everyone is despondent. Friends email with their tales of a similarly sleepless night. "I'm completely knackered and very irritable and groggy," writes one.

The chilled and happy vibe of that little corner of Somerset seems very far away. It feels like we would stand more chance of getting a golden ticket to Willy Wonka's chocolate factory.

Anyone know if there are any Glasto toilet cleaning jobs going?

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