back to article Music fans FUME over PJ Harvey ticket CHAOS as Somerset House site buckles

Many PJ Harvey fans who rushed to buy tickets from Somerset House's online store on Friday were left bitterly disappointed, after the website buckled under demand. It was announced yesterday that the two-time Mercury Prize winner would be collaborating on a live installation in London with Somerset House on the artist's …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "why it hadn't foresee"

    That does not bode well for the start of the New Year.

    You need to wait for the eggnog to get out of your system, guys.

  2. Graham 24

    The use of the singular is perhaps significant

    increasing the resources available to the miniserver"

    Whois says that Somerset House is hosted by Memset, and the lowest level of Memset's offering is their "miniserver" (, so this seems to be a simple case of Somerset House not understanding that demand can't be met just by increasing bandwidth (which is the implied recommendation from Memset), but that underlying processing capacity has to be increased too.

    It may well be that the site is running on a single machine, although in fairness, "the miniserver" could be referring to just a back-end database or other single-server component of a larger site infrastructure.

  3. A Non e-mouse Silver badge


    Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.

  4. DavCrav Silver badge

    I can answer one of your questions

    " And we wanted to know why the organisation hadn't considered farming out the ticket purchases to a third party provider."

    Ticketmaster et al charge lots of money.

    1. CADmonkey

      Re: I can answer one of your questions

      Wouldn't it be awful if someone like that deliberately choked up the system, just to make a point?

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: I can answer one of your questions

      I agree, You'd pay a tenner for the tickets, £20 for the booking free, £10 for postage and £5 for admin.

      Then they would sell out in 5 seconds flat and then be resold on Tickemaster resale site, again getting another £50 in fees.

      Live nation are no better,

      Conversely THSH (Town hall - Symphony Hall, Birmingham) usually charge £2 or free if you are a member (which only costs £15)

      1. dan1980

        Re: I can answer one of your questions

        You forgot the credit card surcharge.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Money saving top tip.

    she plays down our local on occasion. Been there a couple of times for impromptu gigs I would tell you where, but that would ruin the fun..

    1. Desidero

      Re: Money saving top tip.

      She rides by on her moped occasionally and lullabyes me to sleep. Would tell you where, but it'd ruin my R.E.M. and besides, I'm a selfish twat.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: that would ruin the fun..

      What really ruins the fun is when you're having a quiet drink down the local and a bunch of arty twats turn up and start an impromptu gig.

      1. Desidero

        Re: that would ruin the fun..

        Sweeet. Let me guess - you were an extra for "Shawn of the Dead" - who got cut cuz couldn't grunt and stagger at the same time? But still glad they let you keep the t-shirt & beer mug.

        1. Desidero

          Re: that would ruin the fun..

          And I swear the lede photo from Shawn of the Dead wasn't up there when I posted this comment... did I invoke the spirit of the doomed and wasted? Is this like The Craft for teens to doddlers?

  6. HighHo

    These things happen, and of course will have been frustrating for those trying to obtain tickets. But the advise to increase bandwidth not cpu/mem etc was from the hosting provider (if there statement is correct). Without knowing exactly how many people were trying to obtain tickets and server details, this could have been unforseen by both somerset house and the hosting provider and could be due to poor programing in the site or database.

    Whatever the issue, hopefully it will be learned for an event of similar demand in future. If they had a history of these issues it would maybe be more disapointing.

  7. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Don't Know What The Fuss Is

    Listened to a few of her tracks. Didn't find anything remarkable, and absolutely nothing you could sing along to.

    Whatever happened to engaging the audience?

    1. sabroni Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: I know right!

      Why do people insist on listening to music that you don't like? Fucking idiots.

    2. Desidero

      Re: Don't Know What The Fuss Is

      Maybe she was out engaging the audience while you were expecting singing. Different strokes, different folks.

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

        Re: Don't Know What The Fuss Is


        ... and pray tell me how anyone can find out they don't like a track without first listening to it.

        1. sabroni Silver badge

          Re: and pray tell me how anyone can find out they don't like a track without first listening to it.

          Forsooth, good sirrah, for surely that is an impossible task. But nevertheless, one can listen to said track and dislike it without expounding on it's vagaries in the comment section beneath. If one does indeed post in such a manner, then one should not take offence if a gentle ribbing ensues....

  8. Stretch

    they don't farm it out as they pocket an enormous "booking fee" for all the work they didn't do.

  9. Hans 1 Silver badge

    PJ Harvey ?

    Is she still around ? Man, last time I heard tunes of heirs must be 20 years, almost ... Ok, not quite ... but back in the day (mid 90's), I would listen to her music a lot, then she got famous and I forgot about her ... will pull out the LP's tonight ... I can hardly remember any of her songs, now ... :-\

    When it comes to music, when you become a star/top of the pops/... your next music has to please as many as possible, so all the "heart" and "honesty" vanishes ... coz the labels expect you to sell, not be honest with yourself.

    Look what U2, (Zooropa+) Coldplay, Keane, Pulp, (random list of bands), Stones (since 70's, I know I'll get massively downvoted here, but their music died with the bloke - to claim he was not doing anything anymore is more than suspicious, the rest of their stuff sucks) are/were doing ... One band that has managed fame is Buzzcocks ... though I doubt anybody here would know them ... precisely ... but each and everyone on here know a song or two ... a cover, ok, but still, funny, huh ?

    1. Desidero

      Re: PJ Harvey ?

      Forget downvoting - I'll just point out the absurdity that Happy, Brown Sugar, Honky Tonk Women, All Down the Line, You Can't Always Get What You Want and Wild Horses are all part of your "post-relevance" period. And of course in this documentary by Jean-Luc Godard of Sympathy for the Devil - "find Brian" is like "Where's Waldo". [it also shows how much work it can be to turn a crappy little idea into a great song]

      Now go hang your head in shame.

    2. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: so all the "heart" and "honesty" vanishes

      No, it doesn't. What you're talking about is to do with your attitude to artists and whether you think they're cool or not. Artists change over time and success can definitely change them, but it's much more complex than "successful = bad, underground = good". Step away from that and just start listening to the music. Maybe you'll find there are successful acts you actually enjoy listening to, even though they're trying to make music other people like. Some times when an artist tries to make music people like they succeed!!

  10. TheProf Silver badge

    I'll try again to comment

    I don't know if I was moderated out of existence or I forgot to post before but here goes.

    I don't know, in my day I had to go to the box office and queue to get tickets to see a band. Sometimes I queued in the rain. Sometimes all the tickets sold out before I got to the kiosk.

    And today some people moan because they have to refresh the screen every 5 seconds for half-an-hour.

    I blame twitter.

    1. Jonski

      Re: I'll try again to comment

      And in your day I expect that while you waited, you had to lick the road clean with your tongue.

      Eh, now in MY day...

    2. dan1980

      Re: I'll try again to comment


      I remember that too. I remember queuing overnight for some and waiting outside a little-known outlet for others.

      But online is where it is at now. Sales open at a certain time and people rush onto the site to snap them up, with some shows selling out in minutes. With that kind of demand you simple MUST have a stable and capable platform because it is otherwise unfair to the people looking to buy tickets.

      Okay so the vendors don't really care if some people get screwed because they get their sales anyway and so this is why the problem happens all the bloody time.

      Shows are stupidly expensive now and the increase in population of urban centres means there are even more people scrambling for them. It's annoying to miss out on a show you want to see but it's infuriating when that is due to a problem with the website you are trying to buy them from.

      It doesn't matter what the show is or what the method of purchase is - just so long as it is fair and able to cope with demand.

      To directly address the 'queuing at the kiosk' point, how would you feel if you had waited (in the rain, let's say) and were right near the front of the line but when the time came for the window to open, there was no one there. By the time the attendant arrived, 30 minutes late, all the tickets were sold out or, at best, you had to settle for nose-bleed or obstructed view seats. That is essentially what has happened here and the people affected are justified in their grievance.

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