The Proms: A very British music festival


Do you want to enjoy a quintessentially British experience, but didn’t receive an invitation to the coronation of Charles III? Why not join the thousands of visitors who will attend The Proms in the Royal Albert Hall this summer. 

This year’s season will run 14 July – 9 September 2023 and host 72 events. The programme for Proms 2023 has just been published and features a huge breadth of programming, from Berlioz to Bollywood, large scale symphonic and choral work, intimate chamber concerts and exciting Proms debuts. The programme includes new commissions, including premieres by Ukrainian Bohdana Frolyak and the master of the king’s music, Judith Weir.

David Pickard, Director, BBC Proms says: “There is no other classical music festival in the world to match the range and breadth of the BBC Proms. It is the place where so many discover orchestral music for the first time – whether through a cornerstone of the classical repertoire, ground-breaking new work or collaborations with some of today’s most exciting artists.”

The Proms, or promenade concerts, were first organized by Henry Wood and Robert Newman in the Queen’s Hall on 10 August 1895. The Proms, held from mid-July to the start of September, continues to be the longest running series of orchestral concerts in the world. Held in the large red-brick Royal Albert Hall amphitheater, named after Queen Victoria’s Prince Consort, it can welcome over five thousand people.

Wood and Newman had a vision of a series of concerts that anyone could attend, regardless of how much money they earned, introducing the idea of “promming”. Promming is a traditional and an essential part of what makes the Proms so unique. Promming tickets allow you to book on the day for world-class performances for just £8 (inc. fees).

For each Prom, 1000 standing places, in the Arena and Gallery, are reserved for prommers, as well as some seated places. All standing promming tickets are unreserved, meaning that you can choose where you stand when you arrive. If you book seats, these will be allocated to you when you book. 

The festival culminates with the flag-waving ‘Last Night of the Proms’ which is led by Marin Alsop conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra, in a mixture of traditional and newly commissioned works. She will be joined by cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason and soprano Lise Davidsen. It’s a sort of British version of the New Year’s Day concert in Vienna, and like that concert there are core pieces that are played every year from Arne, Elgar, Parry, and Wood’s ‘Fantasia on British Sea Songs’.