BBC Proms Facts

Category: Proms

What is the BBC Proms?

The BBC Proms is the world’s biggest and longest-running music festival and features many of the world’s greatest artists and orchestras. This year, over its two months, there are 75 concerts in the Royal Albert Hall and 13 in Cadogan Hall, as well as four Proms in the Park celebrations around the UK on the Last Night. There are also daily FREE Proms Plus talks, workshops, performances and family events.

How can I find out what’s on when?

The BBC Proms Guide 2013, available in bookshops, online and across the UK from 18 April, contains full details of the festival along with articles about the music and artists, priced £6.50. Full season details are also available at bbc.co.uk/proms from 2pm on 18 April. New for this season is the first ever digital edition of the Proms Guide, priced £4.99.

Why is it called the ‘Proms’?

‘Proms’ is short for Promenade concerts, informal and inexpensive concerts where Promenaders (‘Prommers’) stand to listen. Promming tickets in 2013 are £5 for the eighth year running. The Henry Wood Promenade Concerts, now known as the BBC Proms, has up to 900 Prommers standing in the central Arena and a further 500 standing, sitting or even lying down in the Gallery.

Where is the Proms held?

Since the first home of the Proms, the Queen’s Hall, was destroyed in 1941, concerts have been held in the Royal Albert Hall, though the BBC has the responsibility of running the Proms and devising its artistic programme. There are also events at Cadogan Hall and a daily programme of FREE Proms Plus events at the Royal College of Music.

When did the Proms begin?

Henry Wood, who conducted almost every concert for nearly half a century, lifted his baton for the first time on Saturday 10 August 1895. Even then, Prom concerts were not a new idea: they started in France in the 1830s and were introduced to the UK shortly afterwards.

Whose idea was it?

The Proms was the brainchild of impresario Robert Newman, whose ambition was to enable people to enjoy ‘serious music’. Sir Henry Wood, founder-conductor of the Proms, believed in making the best-quality classical music available to the widest possible audience and that ambition remains central to the BBC Proms today.

How many people attend the Proms?

In 2012 over 300,000 people attended Proms concerts, average attendance for the main-evening Proms in the Royal Albert Hall was 93% and 51 of 76 concerts in the Royal Albert Hall sold out.

How can I access the Proms?

Every Prom is broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and in HD Sound via the website at bbc.co.uk/radio3. It is also possible to ‘listen again’ for seven days after broadcast at bbc.co.uk/proms. Selected Proms are televised on BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three and BBC Four throughout the season. Proms information can also be found via Facebook (facebook.com/theproms) and Twitter (@bbcproms / #bbcproms).

How many people watch and listen to the Proms?

In 2012 the BBC Proms reached over 15 million viewers in the UK across all BBC television platforms. BBC Radio 3 reaches more than 2 million people each week and has a huge international audience through its broadcasts. In 2013 the Proms will be broadcast on BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra, 2, 4 Extra, 6 Music and the Asian Network.

How much do tickets cost?

There are eight different price bands for concerts, with seated tickets ranging from £7.50 to £68 (excluding the Last Night). Arena and Gallery Promming tickets cost just £5 each. A Promming season ticket costs £190, bringing the cost of attending each concert down to just over £2.50. Other special offers include the new for 2013 Opening Weekend and Weekly Promming passes and for the second year running half-price tickets for under-18s in any seating area (excluding Last Night of the Proms.)

How can I book tickets?

Tickets go on sale at 9.00am on Saturday 11 May 2013. The online Proms Planner at bbc.co.uk/proms enables you to plan your concert attendance across the season before tickets go on sale. This will be available from 2.00pm on Thursday 18 April until midnight on Friday 10 May. From 9.00am on 11 May customers can also phone 0845 401 5040* or buy tickets in person at the Royal Albert Hall.

Who runs the Proms and how much does it cost?

The Proms is entirely run and funded by the BBC through the licence fee. The total cost of the Proms season, including hire of the Royal Albert Hall, artistic costs, management and extra events, not including Proms in the Park, is around £9 million with an expected £4 million generated through box office income.

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