The band behind songs Computer Love and Computer World unwittingly trigger computer meltdown at Tate Modern as Kraftwerk fans in search of tickets crash the website.
Electro pioneers Kraftwerk turned computers into art but one of the most famous art galleries in the world – Tate Modern in London – has endured a technological meltdown ahead of eight concerts in February which have now sold out.
Tickets for The Catalogue 12345678 gigs, which will take place in the famous Turbine Hall, went on sale at 7.30am on Wednesday morning.
As tens of thousands of fans tried to get hold of tickets to see the legendary Germans perform albums including The Man-Machine, many reported they could not initially find a “buy tickets” button on the Tate website. Minutes later the whole site crashed.
Tate staff issued an apology saying that “extra staff are on hand today” and urged customers to call a single phone number instead.
A statement added “there is a capacity of how many calls can come through so please keep trying”.
Turning to Twitter, music lovers vented their frustration with thousands of angry tweets complaining of a chaotic system and a “PR disaster” for the Tate.
Other fans shut down their computers and – against advice from the gallery – queued up inside the Turbine Hall.
Having no fun fun fun on the autorefresh #kraftwerk
— Kevin Cecil (@kevcecil) December 12, 2012
kraftwerk ticket fiasco – computer hate computer hate!….
— Lypton Village Idiot (@phewsonsbastard) December 12, 2012
In tribute to #kraftwerk the Tate’s ticketing system is apparently being powered by a computer from the early 70s
— Stuart Taylor (@stuartctaylor) December 12, 2012
After five hours and seven minutes, I am giving up. I have lost the will to live. This is, indeed, what hell must be like. #kraftwerk
— Merilyn Davies (@nellbelleandme) December 12, 2012
Art critic Oliver Basciano, a former Tate employee who worked in the ticket sales department as a student, told Channel 4 News it is unlikely “extra staff” amounts to more than a handful of people.
He said: “There’s a call centre [which handles all ticket sales] at Tate Britain – staffed by maybe 15 people.
“They sometimes use extra staff within the Tate but I can’t imagine they’ve got hundreds of people.
“I would have thought they’d have used a ticketing firm to deal with this event – it’s the first time Tate has tried to put on a string of concerts on this scale.”
He also said it is “unlikely” any extra load capacity was put in place to deal with “thousands logging on at once” to the Tate website.
There were also ticketing problems at Tate Modern in April when avant-garde Slovenian group Laibach played a special concert at the gallery.
The Kraftwerk concerts, which kick off on 6 February 2013, are described as a “chronological exploration of the group’s sonic and visual experiments” with “spectacular 3D visualisations and effects”.
Tickets are officially priced at £60 each but they are already being advertised at more than £500 a pair via ticket exchange website Viagogo.