Festivals overload council computer systems
JK Rowling is causing a computer overload in Cheltenham.
Websites at the borough council are being overloaded by festival goers desperate to get their hands on the ticket.
And it is leaving residents wanting to pay their taxes or parking fines unable to log on to the system.
The authority oversees the online booking system for the various events being run by Cheltenham Festival each year.
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A report by members of the scrutiny and overview committee has warned festival organisers that they need to start using their own server.
Councillor Andrew Chard (C, Leckhampton), who was on the committee, said it had reached a time for the council to sever ties with the events organisation. "It is a problem of success online – both for the festival and for the council," he said.
"When people are trying to get online for other reasons at peak festival times and they can't, then they will, obviously, get annoyed.
"Nobody is at breaking point yet but that time will come unless something is done."
There have been a number of times during the past few years when the system has crashed as a result of people flocking to book tickets to events.
Mr Chard said the councillors were also concerned at the cost of providing the service for Cheltenham Festivals.
"A lot of people book their tickets either early in the morning or late at night," he said. "If the system goes wrong, it means we would have to provide service coverage 24 hours a day.
"The council does not need that kind of coverage."
Paul Woolcock, ICT infrastructure manager, said: "During the Festivals the systems experience peaks in capacity, especially during the booking of tickets for popular events and generally, the nature of the festivals business places a significant storage strain on the councils ICT infrastructure."
Cheltenham Borough Council has given Cheltenham Festivals a payment of £139,000 to help it buy IT equipment. Members of the scrutiny and overview committee will discuss the report on October 10.