Technical difficulties brought down the Glastonbury Festival’s virtual stream over the weekend, causing headaches for thousands who had paid for access to the replacement event after the in-person affair was cancelled for the second consecutive year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Fans who had purchased a pass to the streaming performances began complaining early after the performances began at 7 PM Saturday. As complaints mounted, organizers opted to broadcast a new link for the performances that did not require any purchase to access.
“Again, I’m so sorry for the issues in the first part of the stream,” said festival organizer Emily Eavis. “But thank you for all the message of support, as well as the incredible responses we’ve seen to the film itself.”
The event was intended to replicate the experience of the Glastonbury Festival, which is one of the most venerable and attended on the annual festival calendar. The glitch primarily appeared to impact customers accessing the show from Europe, as later streams viewable in North America and Australia were not impacted.
“I could eventually watch the entire festival, but of course the organization of the event was not up to the standard that a festival as important as this is supposed to meet,” said Ana Bravo Diaz, who had purchased a stream to view from her home in Madrid, Spain, only to find it not working. After two hours, she was able to access the event again, but had no ability to scroll back to the start of the show.
Orgainzers are reportedly providing a form to impacted customers to request a refund for their purchase. They will also be given access to the full stream of performances that would be available through May 30.
Reportedly, the issue was due to some kind of technical glitch occuring through a third-party support of the streaming system, Driift.
“Driift is not a tech business or a media platform, and we rely on a third party company for certain aspects of broadcasting the stream,” the company said in a statement, though the third party was not identified. “This provider has now identified the cause of last night’s problems, and, although we are awaiting a full technical report, there were no subsequent issues.”
Glastonbury has run in just one of the previous four years, having taken a year off in 2018 and then seen its 2020 and now 2021 events called off due to the pandemic. In 2019, an estimated 175,000 attended the eent, which saw performances from The Cure, Stormzy, and The Killers. Those who purchased tickets to 2020 or 2021 have the option of rolling them forward into the 2022 event.