O2 have apologised after their Priority ticket website offering customers early access to Peter Kay tickets crashed due to “extraordinary demand”.
The rush for tickets followed the announcement that the comedian would be returning to the stage after years away from the spotlight.
London’s O2 Arena announced that the 49-year-old Phoenix Night’s star would become the first artist in the world to perform a monthly residency there, as part of his first tour in 12 years.
The mobile phone company shared news of their priority tickets on social media at the weekend, writing: “Peter Kay is back on tour. This is not a drill.”
However, messages on Twitter on Thursday pleaded with customers to be patient after the site crashed, leaving customers unable to apply for tickets.
O2 wrote: “We’re seeing extraordinary demand for Peter Kay. We know customers are struggling to get on to our Priority website and app before 10am, we’re working on it. Please be patient, thank you.”
Later, calling the demand “unprecedented”, O2 told customers: “This is by far the highest demand we’ve ever seen for Priority Tickets in 15 years”. Beyonce was the previous most popular performer through O2’s Priority ticket scheme.
Fans of the star shared their irritation at being unable to access tickets, posting memes, pictures and comments on social media.
One fan wrote: “Would have better luck breaking into Peter Kay’s house, holding him hostage and demanding a private stand-up gig than getting tickets through O2 this morning”.
While another added: “Wish they would have given priority to people who originally had tickets for the cancelled Peter Kay tour. The struggle is real.”
Others shared the holding message and image that came up on their screen when attempting to register for tickets.
Kay’s last planned 14-month tour was cancelled at short notice in 2017 due to “unforeseen family circumstances”
Despite the public outcry, the mobile phone company insisted that tickets were being sold, writing in a Twitter update: “We are seeing lots of Priority Tickets being sold for Peter Kay to O2 and Virgin Media customers right across the UK”.
While Kay had made a point of keeping his ticket prices low amid the cost-of-living crisis – selling them at the same price as his 2010 tour and starting from £35 – tickets for some of his shows have already appeared on resale sites at inflated prices – further infuriating fans.
Kay will perform a show a month at the O2 from December 2022 to November 2023, as well as dates in cities including Liverpool, Dublin, Nottingham and Newcastle.
The arena gigs will make up Kay’s first live tour since 2010, when he broke the Guinness World Record for the biggest-selling run of all time, performing to more than 1.2 million people.
Tickets go on general sale from 12 November.
Sky News has contacted O2 and representatives for Peter Kay for comment.