Harvest Music Festival postpones sales after ticket website glitch

·3 min read
The Harvest Music Festival has put ticket sales on pause after users experienced  'errors' with its online platform. (Shane Fowler/CBC - image credit)
The Harvest Music Festival has put ticket sales on pause after users experienced 'errors' with its online platform. (Shane Fowler/CBC - image credit)

Music fans eager for the return of the beloved Harvest Music Festival in Fredericton will have to wait a little longer to get their hands on tickets.

Organizers are putting sales on pause after "errors" with Ticketpro, the online platform used by the festival, left people unable to buy early-release passes and tickets.

The decision to postpone came less than two hours after tickets went on sale at 11 a.m. on Friday.

Visitors to the ticket-selling platform are presented with a message from Ticketpro saying the website is under maintenance and currently unavailable. The glitch resulted in a flurry of complaints on the festival's Facebook page and social media.

Calls to the provided customer service phone number go directly to a recorded message explaining that the company "is currently having technical problems" and working to fix the issue.

Festival music director Brent Staeben said the organizing committee is "extremely disappointed" and apologizes to everyone impacted.

"We're working with our provider Ticketpro to ensure we understand what happened and we can come back in a few short days to get these tickets back on sale," he said.

Shane Fowler/CBC News
Shane Fowler/CBC News

Despite the issues, about 200 orders for tickets managed to get through.

Staeben said "something was wrong" with the Ticketpro platform which slowed down the site tremendously. The company located the issue after investigating on Friday.

It was also able to identify some people who were in the final steps of purchasing tickets and is calling them directly to complete their orders.

Staeben said testing will be conducted Monday and he expects to be able to announce the next on sale date Tuesday.

"We want to make it fair, we want to make sure this system works," he said. "This should never have happened and we want to make sure it doesn't happen next week."

Past ticketing delay

Ticketing troubles resulted in a lawsuit in 2019, between the festival, known as Harvest Jazz & Blues at the time, and Canadian Live Productions Inc.

That prompted a switch to its current ticketing partner, Ticketpro.

The popular festival sued Canadian Live Productions, which runs etixnow.com, for alleged breach of contract and "significant losses."

Court filings show the company claimed the festival was to blame for the problems.

In June, Harvest Jazz & Blues posted a statement about extixnow.com on its website.

"Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival Inc. sincerely apologizes to Canadian Live Productions Inc. for any communications that called into question the competence of Canadian Live Productions Inc.," the statement reads.

A lawyer representing Canadian Live Productions Inc. confirmed a settlement was reached in the lawsuit.

'Extremely frustrating'

Jon Green was excited to attend Harvest this year after five concerts he bought tickets for were cancelled due to the pandemic.

But after an "extremely frustrating" and "disappointing" experience trying to secure tickets, he's not sure he'll be able to make it to a show.

The Fredericton concertgoer made sure his account information was up-to-date the day before. Then on Friday, Green went onto the website at about 9:30 a.m. — an hour and a half before sales opened — to be placed into a virtual waiting room.

When it got down to about three hundred people in the queue, constant error messages started popping up on the screen.

Screenshot
Screenshot

"It had gotten to the point where it was literally checkout, payment information, everything there -- and then it just told me my session had run out," he said.

In years of buying concert tickets, he said he's never seen anything like it before.

Green plans to give it another shot when ticket sales reopen.

"It's a great event, it's just unfortunate the ticket provider is not up to the level of the committee organizers because it's a great show and they pulled a great lineup together for the year," he said.

Fredericton's annual music festival was cancelled last year because of the pandemic. The event will run this year from Sept. 14 to Sept. 19.

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