The Proms – The World’s Greatest Classical Musical Festival

Guy Elliott

Debuted in 1895 thanks to the efforts of Robert Newman and Sir Henry Wood (both robust, beardy gentlemen) and still thriving today, the Proms are designed to provide concert hall music at low prices in an informal atmosphere, for both music lovers and the uninitiated alike. For eight weeks every summer, various concert venues, centring on the Royal Albert Hall in London, play host to the greatest classical music festival in the world.

Naturally, the Proms attract many of the greatest international performers to their stages, creating a diverse and vibrant programme of music. In more recent years, it has become custom to include not just classical music but a wide range of genres with events including the Comedy Prom of 2012, concerts from the BBC World Roots Academy, the Doctor Who Prom, and this year’s Urban Classics Prom.

Many people’s perception of the Proms is shaped undoubtedly by the Last Night, a heady mix of national pride, flag waving and audience participation. This annual tradition, for better or for worse, is very different from the other concerts on offer during the season, so don’t worry if pomp and circumstance isn’t really your thing. No one is going to force you to sing ‘Rule Britannia’.


I couldn’t possible write an article in favour of this annual musical institution without mentioning the real beauty of the proms. Every single proms concert at the Royal Albert Hall has over 500 day tickets available for £5 each. All you have to do to is to queue up on the day in a time honoured tradition known as ‘promming.’ What’s more, the day tickets occupy space directly in front of the stage and closest to the action. The chance to see some of the world’s best live music at less than the cost of a trip to the cinema is surely too good to miss.

The value for money offered by the annual promenade concerts brings with it another advantage. The atmosphere of the proms is totally unique. The air is thick with excitement and expectation, the dress is informal, and the legions of evil-eyed, handbag wielding fun sponges are nowhere to be seen.

I could implore you to use iPlayer to check out the huge range of this season’s Proms online in the comfort of your own home with a nice pair of headphones and a cup of tea. This, no doubt, would be an afternoon very well spent.  However, I believe that the true spirit of the Proms is best experienced first-hand.  Below, I include a simple guide to ‘promming’ and urge you to use it to grab yourself a high quality, cheap and eye opening night out during the final three weeks of “the world’s largest and most democratic musical festival” 2013.


Simple ‘Promming’ Guide:


– Find an upcoming concert on the BBC proms website which takes your fancy:

– Keep the date free in your diary

– Make your way to the venue on the day in question with plenty of time to spare until the concert, (ensure you have at least £5 tucked away in your pocket.)

– Buy a Ticket

– Grab a drink or a bite to eat if you have time

– Return to the auditorium punctually and enjoy the concert

– Simple.

About Guy Elliott

Guy is a music student and singer living in South East London. He studies classical voice at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and is happiest when performing or watching live performance. Sometimes, he also tries to write about things. @guyplus