Outrage at Hyde St Party ticket sellout

The Otago University Students' Association has come under fire from students irate at its Hyde St Party ticketing system after many missed out.

One thousand tickets sold out in less than 45 seconds yesterday for Saturday's event. A second allocation of 700 at 6pm was gone in 30 seconds.

Tickets, which cost $2 for Hyde St residents and $15 for non-residents, were limited to 3600 but only 1700 were available for purchase. The rest had been allocated to Hyde St residents, their guests and neighbouring streets.

They went on sale online at 9am, but OUSA's server crashed due to ‘‘an unprecedented demand for tickets''. Another ticket release at 12.30pm also crashed the server.

One of the lucky ones was University of Otago surveying student Emma Cook (21). She got a ticket but was annoyed at how it was handled.

A friend who was with Miss Cook when tickets were released, missed out along with a ‘‘whole flat'' of friends.

‘‘I went up to a friend's flat with fibre - 12.30pm rolled around and we were just refreshing the screen like mad. We all had a computer each and I had six tabs open that I was just going through and refreshing. It was so bad.''

Miss Cook said it was unfortunate as OUSA was ‘‘trying to regulate it as best they can''.

‘‘It sucks because me and my friends are fourth year this year and we've never been. We are from Dunedin, as well.''

Asked what her friend was going to do without a ticket, Miss Cook said she would try to ‘‘crash'' at a flat in Hyde St on Friday to make sure she was there before the event got under way.

‘‘There's nothing else we can really do, if we miss out.''

Other people who missed out would just sneak in, Miss Cook said.

‘‘They just do whatever they can to get in.''

Otago Polytechnic massage therapy student Lacey Winder (20) said she tried and initially failed to get a ticket and OUSA's communication about the problems was ‘‘appalling''.

‘‘[I'm] quite upset and angry. It was a very big muck around. Missing classes, the site crashing, no communication,'' Miss Winder said.

‘‘There are a lot of upset students out there today.''

She said students missed classes just to get a ticket to the event.

Miss Winder got lucky at the 6pm allocation and got a ticket.

OUSA's Facebook page was rife with complaints after tickets sold out.

Jack Merton wrote: ‘‘What the **** Hyde St? First telling me what I can and can't wear, and now you're telling me you're sold out of ******* tickets?''

OUSA told students to ‘‘avoid'' wearing costumes that were culturally insensitive, including dressing as Arabs, Nazis, LGBT and disabled people.

Libby Lawrence wrote: ‘‘Better say tickets for 2017 are for sale soon and they might actually go up at the right time next year.''

Alexander Gilbert wrote: ‘‘So hypothetically speaking this whole having a ticket thing is more or less a guideline, right?''

In a statement, an OUSA spokesman said the event highlighted the ‘‘popularity of the party'' and its success when facilitated by OUSA.

‘‘At 9am this morning, we were experiencing over 7000 page loads per second, which caused the server to crash. When we made tickets available again at 12.30pm, the levels had increased to around 11,000 page loads per second.

‘‘Traffic was then redirected to a backup ... system where the 1000 tickets available were allocated in 45 seconds.''

Entry to the event has been by ticket only since a roof collapsed at a non-sanctioned party in 2012.

rhys.chamberlain@odt.co.nz

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