Record number of concerts sold out as BBC Proms 2013 concludes

After a packed two months, the 119th season of the BBC Proms comes to its conclusion this evening with the world-renowned Last Night of the Proms, led for the first time in its history by a female conductor, Marin Alsop, and featuring mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato and violinist Nigel Kennedy, at the Royal Albert Hall.

Published: 7 September 2013
I’m delighted that the 2013 BBC Proms has captured the imagination of our audiences and been so critically acclaimed. The atmosphere throughout the summer has been one of great excitement and engagement with the music making."
— Roger Wright, Director, BBC Proms
  • Record number of concerts sold out in the Royal Albert Hall - 57 of 75
  • Record number of UK requests for Proms programmes on BBC iPlayer – 1.7 million
  • 93 per cent average attendance for main evening concerts in Royal Albert Hall
  • More than 300,000 attend the 88 concerts in the Royal Albert Hall and Cadogan Hall 

Average attendance for the main evening Proms in the Royal Albert Hall this year was 93 per cent, equal to last year. A record 57 of 75 concerts in the Royal Albert Hall sold out, six more than in 2012, and over 300,000 people attended concerts at both the Royal Albert Hall and Cadogan Hall.

More than 32,000 people bought tickets for the first time and over 8,400 under-18s attended concerts across the season. Record numbers of tickets were sold on the first day of sales with over 114,000 tickets purchased.

Roger Wright, Director of the BBC Proms, says: “I’m delighted that the 2013 BBC Proms has captured the imagination of our audiences and been so critically acclaimed. The atmosphere throughout the summer has been one of great excitement and engagement with the music making. The high attendance figures, not least for the new and less familiar work, is a sign of the health of the BBC Proms brand. Thanks to the ongoing commitment of the BBC the Proms continues to offer great value for money.”

Jasper Hope, Chief Operating Officer of the Royal Albert Hall, says: "Another Proms season comes to an end and proves that the Proms is without doubt the world’s greatest classical music festival and an extraordinary phenomenon. Over 300,000 people attending concerts at the Royal Albert Hall and Cadogan Hall throughout the season is impressive enough but add over two million visits to the Proms pages on our website, 150,000 visits on the first day alone with over 114,000 tickets sold, to a record number of sold-out performances, and the popularity of this amazing festival is clear for all to see. Our thanks to artists and audiences alike for a wonderful summer and we look forward to welcoming the Proms back in 2014."

From Adès to Zappa; flamenco dancers to Urban Classic; the Doctor Who Prom to the first complete Ring Cycle in one festival, this season has truly celebrated the vast range of music the Proms champions. With 18 world premieres, 14 of which were BBC commissions, the Proms continued to demonstrate its commitment to contemporary work.

With Promming tickets remaining at £5 for the eighth year, the festival continues to offer great value for money, allowing audiences this season to attend the complete Ring Cycle for just £20. In the spirit of the Proms’ enduring mission to make the best classical music available to everyone, the 2013 Proms was broadcast on more BBC platforms than ever before across BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three and BBC Four. Every Prom was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 with additional broadcasts on Radio 1, 1Xtra, Radio 2, 4 Extra, 6 Music and the Asian Network.

This season has seen an enormous increase in consumption of the Proms online, with more than 777,000 views for clips on YouTube, more than half a million more than at the same point in 2012. With an all-time weekly reach high of 390,000 unique browsers to the BBC Proms site during the penultimate week of the festival, social media has also flourished: the Proms now has more than 27,000 Twitter followers and 25,000 Facebook fans. For the first time ever, Cadogan Hall Proms Chamber Music concerts were filmed for the BBC Proms website.

Proms programming on BBC iPlayer has received a total of 1.7m UK requests to date across the season, up 65 per cent on last year. Just over 11 million viewers have tuned in to see the Proms on BBC television to date. Doctor Who at the Proms had over 1.2 million viewers on BBC One and John Wilson’s Hollywood Rhapsody received over half a million viewers on BBC Four. These Proms also contributed to an increase in weekly online traffic, up 30 per cent year on year.

Katie Derham has been the face of the Proms on BBC Two, hosting Proms Extra, the brand new Saturday evening programme which attracted more than 700,000 viewers in its peak episode. For the first time, Tom Service fronted a Sunday evening series of 20th century and contemporary music on BBC Four with music ranging from Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring to the much anticipated world premiere of Thomas Adès’ Totentanz, dedicated to the memory of Witold Lutosławski in this his centenary year. All services are available to listen and watch again on and via BBC iPlayer.

The Proms has an extensive learning programme with a rich offering of daily pre-concert and participatory events, which this year included talks by John Le Carré and Stephen Fry. 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 as shown by the first ever free main evening Prom, a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony given by the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.

Highlights in 2013 included Daniel Barenboim’s Ring Cycle, marking the first ever complete performance of Wagner’s epic work in one Proms festival, and Barenboim’s first performance of a Wagner opera in the UK. With three other Wagner operas and performances of Britten’s Billy Budd and Tippett’s The Midsummer Marriage there were nine complete operas throughout the summer.

This year also saw the first ever Urban Classic, 6 Music and Gospel Proms. Debut artists included Frederic Rzewski performing his own piano concerto, the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and a cappella group Naturally 7.

To see and embed a short film of highlights from the 2013 Proms please visit:


Notes to editors

The 2013 Proms included 75 concerts in the Royal Albert Hall, 13 Proms Chamber Music and Saturday Matinee concerts at Cadogan Hall, and five Last Night of the Proms celebrations across the UK.

The 2014 BBC Proms run from Friday 18 July to Saturday 13 September.