Organisers of an Only Fools and Horses convention taking place at the Sharnbrook Hotel next year have issued an apology after their website received over 3 million hits and fans were left unable to buy tickets.
The convention, organised by the ofah.net fan site, features a rare chance to meet Del Boy himself, Sir David Jason, with tickets priced at £375.
The hefty price tag clearly didn’t put fans off, as the website was deluged with hits as soon as tickets were released.
The influx caused the website to crash and left fans frustrated, many spending up to five hours trying to refresh the page.
Administrators of the Only Fools and Horses fan site were forced to explain to the thousands of fans why they couldn’t access the website. Many fans took to social media to vent their frustration.
The organisers’ apology said, “Our website usually has around 100 to 200 visitors a day on average. Yesterday the final count on individual hits amounted to just under 3.2 million (not people but the number of times everyone clicked refresh).
“Basically, that is way way beyond most private website’s capabilities. We obviously expected a spike in numbers and increased our bandwidth to 7TB.
“Obviously, we have to have things in place for this – or we may go Eventbrite or a company like that.
‘We all cant [sic] go through that again.
“So to everyone who stood by us, we say THANK YOU and will make sure you all have a great time.”
Although tickets for Saturday 29 February have now sold out, an additional date has been added on Sunday 1 March. Tickets for this date have yet to go on sale.
Some of the proceeds from the events are being donated to Sir David Jason’s chosen charity, Diabetes UK.
The event is being hosted by the Sharnbrook Hotel, and owner Ciro Ciampi said, “The Hotel receives countless event enquiries which we help the organisers turn into successful events. It’s rare to find a venue that supports, publicises and works with their customers to achieve an all round excellent experience.
“Understandably this event has captured the attention of a local audience and is a unique opportunity, but the Only Fools & Horses Conventions have been running for years and there are thousands of die-hard fans that save up to attend events like this.
“As the host venue, we have applied our usual off-peak pricing and our remaining ticket-holder-only guest rooms have been priced at our lowest group discounted pricing structure too.
“The event pricing is structured as an exclusive opportunity to meet a legendary actor that rarely makes public appearances and is also raising money for Diabetes UK.
“From my understanding this event has an upper limit and is very exclusive – the costs behind putting on the event are truly colossal.”
Referring to the issues around the ticket website, Ciro said, “The recent national press attention due to the reaction to ticket pricing unfortunately brought the event even more publicity.
“I am aware that the organisers significantly increased their bandwidth and made their servers more robust, but they were completely overwhelmed with some people lining up multiple devices to have a chance – they have been working through the night and I am also awaiting updates from the organisers.”