Dismaland: Ticket and queue misery at Banksy show

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Media captionBanksy's Dismaland exhibition is being held in Weston-super-Mare

Thousands of people have struggled to buy tickets online for a Banksy show in Weston-super-Mare - as hundreds queued to get in to a "locals only" day.

Dismaland, a dark theme park, will run for five weeks at the seaside resort.

A thousand people received free tickets, but as the remaining tickets went on general sale, the website crashed.

Banksy's spokeswoman said the site had received more than six million hits by Friday.

A message on the site said "due to unprecedented demand" it is currently unable to process online ticket sales, and Saturday and Sunday tickets will only be available on the door.

Fans have been questioning whether their frustration in failing to buy tickets is in fact part of the 'Dismaland experience'.

'Lost irony'

The UKBusinessInsider has questioned the functionality of the Dismaland website, which also shows an upside down supermarket trolley.

Anthony Hamer-Hodges wrote: "I guess the misery of queuing and a crashing website is part of the satire #Dismaland."

James Bush said: "Love that the #Dismaland website keeps crashing and people are complaining about it. Irony really is lost on some people."

Phil Cross tweeted: "If you are searching for #Dismaland tickets you are very much part of the exhibition already," while Stacy Bias wrote: "I'm guessing the comically terrible experience of trying to get tickets for #Dismaland is pretty much exactly what Banksy was going for."

Image copyright Emma Griffiths - Newsi

A spokesman for North Somerset Council said they were trying to establish if the difficulty in getting tickets online was a real problem or a deliberate ploy by Banksy.

A few fans camped overnight to secure a place at the front of the queue and by 07:00 BST, two hours before the doors opened, hundreds of people were waiting.

One thousand local people received a ticket in return for showing a voucher printed in the local newspaper, the Weston Mercury.

Dismaland features work by more than 50 artists, including Damien Hirst, Jenny Holzer, Jimmy Cauty and Bristol-born Banksy, who says he chose the venue himself after walking past the old lido six months ago.

Among the exhibits are a distorted mermaid, a dilapidated fairy castle and a boat pond where all the boats are filled with models of migrants, as well as paintings and a beach ball hovering above upturned knives.

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Media captionHow Banksy Dismaland was made dismal

Many are twists on traditional fairground rides - such as a coconut shy featuring anvils, instead of coconuts. Banksy described the show as a "family theme park unsuitable for children".

Workmen were seen spray painting the front of the Tropicana to make it look more dreary on Thursday evening.

The outdoor pool and leisure facility has been closed since 2000 amid various attempts to either reopen or demolish the structure.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Dismaland features a ferris wheel, castle and police riot van with a slide
Image copyright PA
Image caption The Dismaland merry-go-round has a nod to the horsemeat scandal
Image copyright PA
Image caption Boats in the boatpond exhibit are filled with migrants
Image caption Hundreds of people queued to get in to the attraction on Friday

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