To say Kraftwerk fans were unhappy might be an understatement. "We are livid," said Angela Kennedy, standing at the end of a queue of about 200 people in Tate Modern's chilly Turbine Hall hoping there were still enough tickets. "We got here at the crack of dawn [around 10am] and were turned away – that was after trying on the phone since 7.30am."
Kennedy, style director of Woman & Home magazine, was one of thousands caught up in Tate's ticketing fiasco after the online booking service for Kraftwerk's London gigs, in February, crashed almost immediately at 7.30am. The next option was the phone, which for most people, was constantly engaged.
Kennedy and her colleague Emma Badger work around the corner from Tate Modern so assumed they might be among the lucky ones. "We were told there was no facility to buy tickets in person, you'll have to phone. So we've been on the phone all morning – along with our work of course," she added. "We work for Women & Home so we can multitask."
By the time they turned up again, four nights had been sold out, but Tate staff encouraged them to be optimistic. They should not have been. After another two and a half hours queueing, and with just a dozen people left in front of them, they were told everything had sold out.
Many others also had a miserable time trying to get tickets on the telephone following Tate's advice on Twitter to keep on trying. "I was on the phone for five hours," said Simon Witter, a journalist and TV director. "It was completely hopeless."
Mike Grant, who works for HMV, turned up in person at about 2pm having decided to just get on a train and travel from his home in Norwich, hoping for the best. "I was online at 7.15am and it collapsed," he said. The trip would be worth it though. "To see them somewhere like this [Tate Modern's Turbine Hall] will be immense. I first saw them in '78 and have seen them all over Europe."
Tim Graham, a DJ and web designer, said he used to listen to tapes of Kraftwerk 20 years ago when he and a friend would drive to London to go clubbing. "I tried to get through on the phone about 10 or 15 times and thought 'you know what, everyone's going to have the same problem,' so I thought I'd come in person. To be honest if I only have to wait an hour I'm happy."
A Tate statement at 5.45pm said: "All tickets to Kraftwerk – The Catalogue 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 have now sold out. We appreciate that many people experienced difficulties in purchasing tickets today – this was due to the unprecedented levels of demand for such a unique series of performances."
The Kraftwerk gigs at the Turbine Hall will feature a different album every night and have 3D projections and animation.
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