Dismaland Website Crashes, Leaving Banksy Fans In Twitter Wonderland

Dionne Charlet

Dismaland "bemusement park" is set to open on Saturday, but the website wasn't open for business to would-be attendees wanting to purchase tickets early Friday morning. Dubbed "the UK's most disappointing new visitor attraction," the counter-cultural exhibition by British graffiti artist Banksy was a disappointment to Twitter and other social media users attempting to access the website.

After a truly dismal morning of website failure, Dismaland organizers told local groups and sponsors that tickets will only go on sale from midday on Friday, according to the Bristol Post. This does not account for the fact that hundreds of thousands of people attempting to access the obviously under-prepared server hosting the website caused a crash.

The pop-up art attractions that make up Dismaland are located in a derelict lido on the seafront of Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset. When the show finally opens, Dismaland can accommodate 4,000 people in two sittings each day for the next five weeks, according to the Telegraph. It can, that is, if the website will allow users to buy their tickets.

Is the Banksy brainstorm parody of Disneyland a hoax? There was speculation that difficulty accessing the website and purchasing the tickets is all part of the Dismaland "bemusement."

"In essence it's a festival of art," said Dismaland creator Banksy, "amusements and entry-level anarchism. A place where you can get your counterculture easily available over the counter. A theme park for the disenfranchised, with franchises available. I guess you'd say its a theme park whose big theme is – theme parks should have bigger themes."

As expected, thwarted website searchers were not amused. One Twitter user posted the following.

"I asked myself," shared Banksy, "what do people like most about going to look at art? The coffee. So I made an art show that has a cafe, a cocktail bar, a restaurant and another bar. And some art."

Yet, there was no coffee for early-Friday-morning Dismaland fans. All the wonderful world of the internet had to offer them was a broken website link.

"If you're the kind of person who feels jaded by the over-corporate blandness that passes for family light entertainment," Banksy continued, "then this is the bespoke leisure opportunity that will connect with your core brand dynamic. It doesn't so much ask the question, 'What is the point in art now?' as ask, 'What is the point in asking, 'What is the point in art now?""

When the website was available, the shopping cart for ticket purchases was flipped over.

This did not sit well with one Twitter user.

Hoards of people want to view the bizarre Dismaland attractions. Web teasers show images of a severely-altered mermaid, a ragged-out Disney-like castle, a killer whale splashing out of a toilet, and a smashed Cinderella-like pumpkin carriage. A children's slide is adhered to an armor-plated riot control vehicle. There will be performance acts, "an oil caliphate themed crazy golf course" and a portrait artist who will only draw the back of your head, according to the now-defunct Dismaland website.

— Goddess Miia (@Miia_Goddess) August 21, 2015

Dismaland was built in part because Banksy believes the current art market only works for people who repeat their expected previous efforts, as reported by Complex. Juxtapose a website crash and topsy-turvy shopping cart for Dismaland tickets, and Banky gets an "A" for effort whether or not he meant to disrupt Twitter and other social media sites with mournful wannabe art viewers.

"The art market certainly doesn't encourage creativity," said Banksy to the Guardian. "Like most markets it rewards being able to reliably deliver recognisable product on a regular basis. Which isn't necessarily a recipe for exciting art. I heard someone on the radio, it might even have been Richard Ashcroft, say: 'It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster.' Which is why I've spent months making distorted fibreglass fairground sculptures to install in a dirty lido miles from anywhere."

Has Banksy been planning all along for this event to be a 'disaster'? By the sheer number of people attempting to buy tickets alone, this park is already an early success. Regardless, Dismaland is certainly making a name for itself, as the on-and-off website dilemma flickers through the web like carny lights through the darkness of hope for art's sake.

[Photos by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images and website screen capture]