Rush for big Yin crashes website

The apology on the Usher Hall website
The apology on the Usher Hall website

By Cara Sulieman

A HUGE scramble for tickets to see the ‘Big Yin’ play live in Edinburgh caused an entire booking system to crash yesterday.

Billy Connolly fans were left frustrated trying to get hands on the briefs for any of his four night gigs at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall.

Demand was so high that the booking system failed meaning people couldn’t book either online or by phone.

And because the council-owned venue is being refurbished, no-one could pick them up in person either.

Knock-on effect

The Usher Hall is undergoing the final stages of a revamp and opens to the public next month for the first time since 2005.

With no counter for customers to visit, the system malfunction had a huge knock-on effect.

And customers weren’t happy that they couldn’t get their hands on one of the tickets.

Matthew Thomson, 23, started calling at 10am, when the box office opened.

He said: “I tried phoning the Usher Hall consistently for an hour but it was always engaged.

“I expected that, but if they can’t sell the tickets anyway because they’re system is down they should at least have a recorded message or something.

“Billy Connolly is popular, what did they expect? Of course there was a rush, the man is a legend.”

“No counter service”

The website message read: “Please bear with us. We are currently experiencing a systems problem which means we are unable to process transactions on-line or on the phone.

“We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. Please note there is no counter service.”

It all meant the show hasn’t yet sold out in stark contrast to the three hours it took for his Glasgow leg of the same tour to fill up.

But despite tickets still being available touts already had them listed on eBay even before lines opened.

Still tickets available

Bids were as high as £63 per ticket – double the £30 face value – with demand expected to soar when the sold out signs go up.

But the council reassured customers that despite the technical fault there are still available.

Councillor Deidre Brock, Culture Convenor, said: “As anticipated, tickets to see Billy Connolly at the Usher Hall this September are proving extremely sought-after.

“Unfortunately there has been a technical fault with a telephone line which is affecting ticket transactions.

“We are working closely with BT to resolve this as a matter of urgency.

“We would like to apologise to any members of the public who were unable to buy tickets today. We will post updates on to advise on progress and are looking to restore ticket sales within 24 hours.

“We would like to reassure people that there are still tickets available for these shows.”