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An unforgettable experience
Going to the Proms, the eight-week summer festival of classical music concerts, should be on everyone's 'bucket list' of things they do in their lifetime. You don't need to be a big fan of classical music to soak up the atmosphere in the unique surroundings of The Royal Albert Hall, with its amphitheatre-like circular tiers and domed roof, bursting with humanity.
If you aren't transported by such well-known pieces as Holst's 'Planets' or Strauss' 'By the Blue Danube', you can enjoy observing the people around you, including the conductor, whose facial and bodily contortions, as he guides the musicians through the nuances of each composition, can be very entertaining!
During the interval, you can enjoy a drink in one of the bars or, if you are lucky enough to be able to afford a seat in one of the many boxes, at about £38, you can order refreshments for consumption during the performance.
This glorious tradition of daily concerts and events started in 1895 and includes other venues, such as Cadogan Hall and Proms in the Park events across the UK. In 2014, concerts run from 18 July to 13 September, and full details are available on the website, www.bbc.co.uk/proms.
The term 'proms' is a shortening for promenade concerts, which were originally held in London's parks, allowing the audience to walk around as the music played. This tradition has been retained by having standing areas in the arena, at ground level, and in the gallery at the top of The Royal Albert Hall, for which single 'promming' tickets can be purchased on the day for only £5. Dedicated prommers can buy a season ticket guaranteeing entry to every concert.
The Last Night of the Proms is a celebration of the season, featuring popular classics and British patriotic pieces. Tickets are very popular for this event and can only be obtained if you have attended five concerts in the season already, although, on the night, a few standing tickets are available on a first-come-first-served basis (for which there are long queues). On the last night, audience members are welcome to bring balloons, flags and party poppers to add to the party atmosphere.