Edinburgh International Book Festival under fire for ticket chaos

THE Edinburgh International Book Festival faced criticism of its online box office yesterday, with some people saying they had to wait in a virtual queue for hours to try to get tickets.

THE Edinburgh International Book Festival faced criticism of its online box office yesterday, with some people saying they had to wait in a virtual queue for hours to try to get tickets.

Angry customers took to social media sites Facebook and Twitter to vent their anger at the online system, which the festival admitted having problems with.

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However, it said the lengthy wait to buy tickets was down to sheer demand.

A host of big names sold out their events yesterday, including Jeremy Paxman, Ian Rankin, David Walliams, Michael Palin, Jeremy Vine and Ian McEwan.

The festival was inundated with complaints about a new online queuing system, which had more than 2,500 people waiting to be served yesterday afternoon at one point.

One poster, Susan Lowes, said: “Awful, awful system – I have been queued since bookings began. I was [number] 1640 for about 2 hours – then I moved down to 1689, now I’m up to 1428. It’s been almost 3 hours! I’m also on hold on the phone – I only want 1 ticket!”

A festival spokeswoman said: “For every person who has been frustrated or cross there are two or three who are delighted to have got their tickets. The demand has been huge.”

BRIAN FERGUSON