Bristol

Banksy: Dismaland ticket problems 'not a prank'

Queue of people waiting to get into Dismaland Image copyright PA
Image caption Huge queues have formed outside the attraction - housed inside a derelict seafront lido

Banksy has denied accusations he is "trolling" members of the public - after thousands have struggled to buy tickets for his new show.

Online bookings for his "Dismaland" exhibition were suspended last week after the attraction's website crashed.

Many users reported issues when sales resumed earlier - prompting claims the problems were deliberate.

But a spokeswoman for Banksy insisted the rumours were untrue. Tickets have now become available on the website.

She said the attraction's website was "100% real" and had crashed under "huge demand".

Dismaland, housed in a derelict lido on Weston-super-Mare's seafront, is a dark take on theme parks with a nod to Disneyland, featuring work by more than 50 artists including Bristolian Banksy.

Among those tweeting their disappointment was Mark Östen, who wrote: "On Friday, I believed 'technical difficulties'. Now, I'm reluctantly believing #Banksy is trolling those after tickets for #dismaland."

Caroline Harley tweeted: "It's easier to buy tickets to see the Beatles than tickets to go to #Dismaland"

Image copyright Grab
Image caption Fans were trying to buy tickets online from Friday

There were suggestions the site may be fake last week.

But the artist's spokeswoman told the BBC: "It's not true. It's 100% a real website. It crashed under the number of hits it received."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Weston-super-Mare has seen a bump in hotel bookings, according to Visit Somerset

North Somerset Council, which worked with Bansky on the exhibition, has insisted the website is not a hoax.

Seafront manager Darren Fairchild said the website had crashed due to an "unprecented" number of hits, despite "huge amounts of work".

Dismaland has boosted visits to the seaside resort - one tour guide told the BBC he had not seen such crowds since the 1970s.

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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