Technology and Somerset

An all star live-streamed virtual Glastonbury festival rapidly turned into an online disaster on Saturday night when audiences were thousands of people were unable to watch the pay-per-view event.

Coldplay, Haim, Damon Albarn, Wolf Alice and Michael Kiwanuka and members of Radiohead were all billed to play, but a technical problem meant most viewers could not log on to the website.

It’s not really Glastonbury, that Worthy Farm, it’s Shepton Mallet. And, well, you know, that’s rural. No, really, rural. Get too far south of Bath and there’s that certain step back into the past.

Quite why anyone thought a 21st century technology would work well in the 15th century is anyone’s guess but there we are. More than three teeth in the head and less than a half gallon of scrumpy in the belly marks you out as insufferably posh down there.

17 thoughts on “Technology and Somerset”

  1. Bloke in North Dorset

    Its all part of Ecks’s vaccination theories. They deliberately made it fail to encourage everyone to get vaccinated then we’ll all be able to receive it over our 5G chips.

  2. Ah no. The servers are elsewhere.

    The problem is most likely that they didn’t do enough testing.

  3. @Julia
    Absolutely! I’m an academic (pause for the bunging of squishy fruit and the uttering of invective) and even I am constantly amazed by how otherwise practical people (non-academics) design/set-up complex processes and then fail to do the walk-through.
    You know, the bit where you mime and say
    “Jenny hands Akil the ID token, Akil tries to put it in the server box, fumbles and it falls down the grating. Now what do we do?”
    “Ed was supposed to deliver the widget to the widget-receiver, Alice, but Alice is on sick leave so it is supposed to go to the assistant widget-receiver. Zey are currently undergoing gender affirmation surgery and their stand-in doesn’t know a widget from a naked mole rat, so who’s going to catch this?”

    Instead they assume perfection and zero absences. It doesn’t work well.

  4. As a network engineer hailing from rural Somerset, I can say you are both inaccurate *and* offensive 🙂

    Plus, we all know those Bath snobs are all mouth and no trousers!

  5. @Bloke on M4

    Chances are the issue is down to where they did the encoding might be the issue. Raw streams can be quite large, so you usually try to encode at source, but if someone wanted to save money…

  6. Ah, but also school at Stratton – I know the area. The inaccuracy might not be quite there. But let us split the difference, we’ll all agree that might not be quite true of Shepton is of both Priddy and Radstock, yes?

  7. Actually.. Sounds like the actual technical bit of the stream went all right.. And to be fair.. there’s not much difference between a (semi-)live telly broadcast and a livestream at the stage end.
    I suspect an orga like Glastonbury is used to stuff like this after a fair number of years, and wouldn’t cock that bit up.

    Not so much for the bits at the server farm with the validation/login and streaming servers. Which would not be onsite but “somewhere else”. Could be London, could be any other place in the world.
    And that’s where things go wrong more often than not.
    “Can’t log in” ( paid ticket or free), along with “your ticket is not recognised by our server” is a distressingly “standard” issue that is an ever-present gremlin.

    And 9 times out of 10 it’s a “max number of users” of “bandwidth exceeded” issue –> trying to do things on the Cheap…

  8. Bloke in North Dorset

    I’m not up to speed on the latest technology, but for an event like that you wouldn’t rely on the extant networks, you’d build something temporary. A couple of 38GHz or maybe 60GHz microwave links back in it BT’s core network should be enough, or if you want to push the cost boat out a sat link could be used, the round trip delay being immaterial for an outside broadcast. On site they’d use 3.5GHz cameras, the ones the use at rugby matches and the like, to get the pictures back to the control room.

  9. Rupert,

    Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure both have live video streaming as a service now, so I wouldn’t muck about with doing any of it myself.

  10. Surely the mistake was to try to do it live. Just pre-record the whole thing to avoid any issues.

  11. Glastonbury has been shit since the superfence went up and the BBC got the coverage…and isn’t Worthy Farm in Pilton?

  12. Dear Mr Worstall

    They should’ve broadcast it by clacks.

    @ Clovis Sangrail May 23, 2021 at 8:53 am

    “Zey are currently undergoing gender affirmation surgery and their zeir stand-in doesn’t know a widget from a naked mole rat, so who’s going to catch this?”

    Fixed that for you.


  13. Cavaliere Ridendo

    In the late 1990s I was told by a social worker there were seven active covens in Shepton Mallet. The place always had a bad ambience.

  14. Mind bleach needed. 7 groups of Shepton Malletite wimmins prancing in the nude? And it ain’t going to be the young un’s either, is it?

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