Bonnaroo’s Ticket Blunder
This year Bonnaroo tried out a new ticket purchasing system. Like other festivals the site now has a “waiting area” before you can enter the purchasing area. I am familiar with this new feature as Hangout Festival has implemented one too. The waiting area is created to ensure that only a specific number of people are on the actual purchasing site at one time thus to prevent server failure. Saturday morning at exactly 11:00 am CST I got into the “waiting area” with thousands of other excited fans and anxiously waited for my turn to be able to purchase 2012 passes. I felt like I was being lined up for a chance to enter Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory! Inside the purchasing area were a few coveted golden Roo tickets.
Once inside of the purchasing area I noticed Bonnaroo and Music Today’s (the ticket provider) first obvious mistake. They opened all of the price levels at once. I immediately went for the Price Level 3 ($234) and slowly was moved through the pages. I successfully got to the shipping page after declining to pay extra for books, t-shirts, hats, posters, mugs, and other random Bonnaroo paraphernalia. After entering my shipping information I was met with the first of many annoying blue error messages and was kicked out.
I thought, “Oh no, they have sold out of this level ticket already.” It was only 11:10am. I re-entered the site and was put back in the waiting area. When I was let back in I tried to purchase Price Level 4 tickets to remedy the situation, but before I could even get to the shipping page there it was that taunting little error message. I once again went back to the main site and re-entered the waiting line. It is now 11:40am and I was completely frustrated knowing I would be forced to buy the highest price level available. The extra money didn’t frustrate me as much as the time I had wasted.
I turned to Twitter to vent my frustrations. Thank goodness I did this, because I saw a hundred similar tweets from other unhappy Bonnaroo campers. I realize that I am not the only person experiencing major problems. I continue to hold my place in line and just sit watching my Saturday morning slip away from me. By noon I check Bonnaroo’s Twitter feed hoping they have addressed the situation because more and more hilarious and angry customer tweets are pouring in. No word. By 12:45pm after six times in the waiting area, two emails to Bonnaroo and Music Today, 20 error messages, and two cups of coffee, I successfully purchased my passes. I was one of a few hundred relentless people that were able to secure tickets.
Around 3:00pm, Bonnaroo released an official statement via Facebook that they were suspending sales and working on the problem. This message was too late for people like me that had wasted an enter day in an online waiting room only to come out empty. Bonnaroo is expected to re-start the ticket sale sometime today. Hopefully, they will not repeat the same mistakes as Saturday. It would be honorable of them to release a large number of the $234 tickets to compensate for wasting people’s time. Make sure to check Bonnaroo website for official ticket information and good luck on purchasing!
Bonnaroo did a lot of things wrong on Saturday, but they did do a few things right.
Things Bonnaroo Did Wrong
1. Opened All Three Ticket Price Levels at Once
(Customers were confused on which level to purchase.)
2. Did Not Anticipate a “Large Demand”
(What were they expecting? A few hundred people!)
3. Waited Three Hours to Address the “Technical Issue”
(A simple “We are looking into these technical difficulties.” tweet would have been nice)
Things Bonnaroo Did Right
1. Suspended All Ticket Sales
(Bonnaroo did right allowing everyone to have a fair purchasing situation.)
2. Replied to Customer Emails
(I received a sincere and honest reply to my frustrated email within a few hours)
Many blamed this year’s “awesome” lineup on the problems. I find last year’s lineup to be 100 times better than this year’s, but Bonnaroo is an experience and I am going for that. Saturday was the worst ticket purchasing experience I have ever had, but Bonnaroo is the best music festival I have ever been to, so it’s worth it.