The BBC Proms 2016 is one of the largest global classical music festivals with over 90 concerts as well as a number of other events.
Highlights for the 2016 season include concerts featuring world-famous conductors like Gustavo Dudamel, Sir Simon Rattle, Vladimir Jurowski, Valery Gergiev, Sir Andrew Davis, Bernard Haitink, Thomas Adès and Daniel Barenboim.
The Proms attracts some of the finest orchestras and this year will include Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, Halle, West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic and Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela.
Although classed as a classical music festival, the Proms features a wide range of music especially in the late night Proms, this year will feature Quincy Jones, a tribute to David Bowie, John Wilson Orchestra will be performing the best of Ira Gershwin, A celebration of Latin American music and A night of Gospel music. There are Proms that feature the dance music from Strictly Come Dancing, Bryn Terfel will be performing the title role in Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov, all three of Stravinsky’s landmark ballets for the Ballet Russes will be performed over one weekend, a season of music inspired by Shakespeare, marking 400 years since the playwright’s death and Ten cello concertos, starting with Elgar’s Cello Concerto performed by Sol Gabetta on the First Night.
A Brief History of the Proms
This is the 120th year of the Proms and tries to stay true to its original aim: to present the widest possible range of music, performed to the highest standards, to large audiences.
Proms were originally ‘promenade concerts.’ These were outdoor music performances during which the audience could walk (or ‘promenade’) around. The first Proms concert took place on 10 August 1895 and was created by Robert Newman, manager of the newly built Queen’s Hall in London.
Newman was keen to reach a wider audience by offering more popular programmes, adopting a less formal promenade arrangement, and keeping ticket prices low. He recruited Henry Wood to be the first conductor of the first Proms season and both Newman and Wood decided offer a mixture of popular and adventurous works. Financial problems threatened to end the Proms following the First World War until the newly formed BBC took over the running of the event. The BBC began to broadcast the concerts and significantly widened its appeal, and although there were financial problems during the Second World War have promoted the Proms ever since. One of the major changes was when the Queen’s Hall was destroyed by bombing in 1941 , the event was switched to the Royal Albert Hall where it has remained till the present day.
One of most unusual aspects of the Proms is the large amount of tickets available to people who wish to stand, the popular tradition of Promming (standing in the Arena or Gallery areas of the Royal Albert Hall) is central to its unique and informal atmosphere.
Up to 1,400 standing places are available for each Proms concert at the Royal Albert Hall. The traditionally low prices allow you to enjoy world-class performances for just £6.00 each (or even less with a Season Ticket or Weekend Promming Pass). All spaces are unreserved.
Over 500 Arena and Gallery tickets (priced £6.00) are available for every Prom. These tickets are available on the day and cannot be booked in advance, so even if all seats have been sold, you always have a good chance of getting in (although early queuing is advisable for the more popular concerts). You must buy your ticket in person and must pay by cash.
A limited number of Arena tickets will usually be sold to the Day Queue from two and a half hours before each performance. For Arena tickets join the queue on the west side of the South Steps. The remaining Day Promming tickets will then be sold from Door 11 for the Arena and Door 10 for the Gallery (queue along Bremmer Road) from 45 minutes before the performance. Tickets for Late Night Proms are available only on the doors, from 30 minutes before the performance. Arena and Gallery tickets are available only at Door 11 and Door 10, not at the Box Office.
If you are unable to get tickets for a popular Prom, be aware that returns often become available. In addition, many boxes and some seats at the Royal Albert Hall are privately owned, and these seats may be returned for general sale in the period leading up to the concert. The Royal Albert Hall does not operate a waiting list.
Last Night of the Proms
The final concert in the series is the Last Night of the Proms which is very popular and has it own ticketing method.
The majority of tickets for the Last Night of the Proms will be allocated by ballot to customers who have bought tickets to at least five other Proms concerts at the Royal Albert Hall. A further 200 tickets are allocated by the Open Ballot.
The Five-Concert Ballot closes on 26 May and you will be informed by 3rd of June whether or not you have been successful.
The Open Ballot
One hundred Centre Stalls seats and 100 Front Circle seats for the Last Night of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall will be allocated by Open Ballot. The Open Ballot takes place on 1st July and successful applicants will be contacted by 9th July.
Any tickets not allocated by the Five-Concert Ballot or the Open Ballot will go on sale on 7th July. There is exceptionally high demand for Last Night tickets, but returns occasionally become available, so it is always worth checking with the Box Office.
Promming at the Last Night.
Day Prommers and Weekend Promming Pass-holders who have attended five or more other concerts (in either the Arena or the Gallery) are eligible to purchase one ticket each for the Last Night (priced £6.00) on presentation of their used tickets (which will be retained) at the Box Office.
On the Night A limited number of standing tickets are available on the Last Night itself (priced £6.00, one per person). No previous ticket purchases are necessary. Just join the queue on The Queen’s Steps, east side (Arena), or the top of Bremner Road, north side (Gallery), and you may well be lucky.
If you are not fortunate to secure Last Night of the Proms tickets there are a number of celebrations at venues around the UK. Known generally as Proms in the Park the events are held in London, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. Each show is centred around a live concert with its own high-profile artists, BBC orchestras and presenters. The evening culminates in a live big-screen link-up to the Royal Albert Hall for the traditional singalong.
If you want to find further information about the Proms or book tickets , visit the Proms website here
London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and the latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here