Rush for Ravinia tickets yields long waits

When online ticket sales for Ravinia Festival’s 2014 season opened at 5 a.m. Thursday, would-be purchasers were almost immediately met with a two-hour wait. By 10 a.m. the wait time had reached about three hours.

It wasn’t due to any technological glitch in the multiple-server booking system in the cloud, but simply a function of the high volume, said Nick Pullia, director of communications for the Ravinia Festival.

“We have a lot of cloud servers, but that still doesn’t change the parameters of people waiting in the line and taking time to choose the concerts they want to go to, where they want to sit in the pavillion or if they want to sit on the lawn,” said Pullia. “All systems are working fine. It is just a matter of having to wait in line.”

When a customer’s turn comes up, he or she receives the same level of service, he said.

By 11 a.m. Thursday, the ticket sales page at www.ravinia.org had registered 3 million visitors, about 1.1 million more than the nearly 1.9 visits on the first day of online sales for the 2013 season.

“There are just a lot more people this year,” Pullia said, noting that wait times were dropping a bit as the noon hour approached. “We are selling the equivalent of 10 United Center (sellouts) in one morning,” he said.

The most popular concerts for early sales have featured James Taylor, ZZ Top and Jeff Beck, Train and the Wallflowers and OneRepublic.

“I know it’s not convenient and we are sorry people have to wait,” said Pullia. “When I was a kid, I remember sitting outside the Ticketmaster office in the middle of the night and camping out. This is still better than that.”

The 2014 season includes 140 events from June 5 through Sept. 14. Walk-up sales begin May 17 and phone sales begin May 19.

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