TICKET TURMOIL - Buju fans in anguish after website crashes
Many persons hoping to obtain tickets to Buju Banton's first concert since being released from a US federal prison were yesterday left disappointed after online portals crashed.
Minutes after the website went live, it became inaccessible to potential patrons worldwide due to the heavy flow of traffic. When the website issues were resolved some two hours after the 11 a.m. sale time, VIP, general, grandstand and bleachers early bird tickets were listed as sold out.
Although a notice on the website said tickets would go on sale again on Friday, many persons took to social media to voice their anger at not being able to secure a ticket.
One user on Instagram wrote: "HELP!!! We've already spent thousands on flights and hotels."
"I am in tears, Buju. Please fix this. I'm coming from far, NYC," another wrote.
Sixty-year old, Michael Chambers echoed the sentiments shared by many on social media. Chambers, a Jamaican by birth, now resides in Connecticut, United States. He revealed that he had already booked a hotel room at the [Courtyard by] Marriott in New Kingston, rented a car from Island Car Rentals and purchased his airline ticket and was only waiting to get his hands on a VIP ticket to put the lid on his March 16 plans.
Chambers said that he had been watching Buju Banton's official website as instructed since Wednesday, but was left torn when he could not get tickets when day one of sales ended.
He said when the website crashed, he felt his heart sank as the disappointment from missing Buju's last concert in Miami in 2011 came rushing back like flood waters.
"I am Jamaican, and I have always been a fan of Buju. When he got bail and he had the concert in Miami, I was supposed to go, but was not able to get a ticket. I told my wife then that I don't care where I'm at and where the concert's gonna be, I was going to be at the first concert he's at when he's released from prison," he said.
"Now, I'm retired and free and I have everything in place, and I'm still not able to get a ticket to the concert. I feel terrible. I don't wanna spend all that money travelling all that way and not be able to see the concert."
However, when THE WEEKEND STAR team spoke to Banton's publicist, Ronnie Tomlinson, she sought to assure the public that even though the website says some tickets are sold out, that is not the case. She urged persons to keep refreshing the page until the option to purchase becomes available. She also explained that tickets being sold now are the early bird offerings, but could not say when that sale would end.
Tomlinson also said that she could not disclose the quantity of tickets that are available to the public. She indicated, however, that notice will be given by the team when all tickets have been sold out.
With news that physical tickets would soon become available at various outlets, Chambers has already identified a plan B.
"I've already spoken to people for them to purchase the [physical] tickets when they go on sale, but I know that they are not going to be on sale until close to show date, and I don't want to miss it, so I will keep trying the website until I get through. I'll go back everyday if I have to. This concert is not something I want to miss. I want to be on the field and close enough where I can experience the concert properly," he said.
Chambers said that if Jamaicans in Jamaica are excited about seeing Banton perform live, there are no words to describe how Jamaicans in the Diaspora feel about the Gargamel's first performance as a free man.
"The vibe has been up, trust me. People are excited about the concert and they want to be there," he said. "I know, like me, many people over here (US) aren't happy about the ticket situation, but I have no doubt that once they are able to get their hands on some tickets, they will be good again."