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The Proms

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For many people, their only knowledge of The Proms comes from watching the last night of the event on TV when thousands gather at the Royal Albert Hall to wave flags and sing Land of Hope and Glory while the conductor of the orchestra waves his arms about to such an extent that you half expect his armpits to catch fire. But it's much more than just one night of raucous entertainment.


The Proms, also known as The BBC Proms, is an eight-week festival of daily classical music concerts (more than 70 in all) performed by a huge number of renowned artists.

The shows take place mainly at the splendid Royal Albert Hall, though additional ones are held at Cadogan Hall in Chelsea, and also at various locations across the country at special Proms in the Park events – in London this year the Proms in the Park event will take place in Hyde Park on the 10th of September, featuring many high-profile artists and presenters.

The summer season of symphonic and operatic entertainment seeks to bring audiences the very best artists working in the world today, which includes plenty of home-grown talent as well, among them the BBC's very own orchestras and choirs.

To really feel the atmosphere of a Prom concert, you should try to get a ticket for the promenade areas of the hall – these are the parts where the audience stands. Standing tickets cost as little as £5 and allow you to soak up the atmosphere of a rousing concert in a fantastically grand setting.

Standing areas in the Royal Albert Hall are located directly in front of the stage, or high up in the Gallery. There's no dress code for events, so wear what you like. The seating areas for many concerts will sell out in advance (so be sure to book early if you'd prefer to watch a concert from the comfort of a padded seat), but standing tickets can be bought on the day, on the door – just be sure to get in line early.

The work of a huge number of composers will be featured at The Proms, which starts on the 15th of July and runs all the way through to the 10th of September.


If you want to enjoy the big bash at the end of The Proms' eight-week run, and lose yourself in a night of patriotic fervour, then you'll need to get yourself a ticket well in advance – though keep in mind tickets for this last night at the Royal Albert Hall are the most sought after of the whole season.

If you can't snag a ticket for the final night at the Royal Albert Hall, head along to Hyde Park instead where you'll be able to enjoy a live feed from the hall of some of the evening's entertainment, including its boisterous climax.

The aim of The Proms remains the same as it was on day one more than a hundred years ago – to present a wide range of music, performed to the highest level in front of as many people as possible. All are welcome, so take a look here to see the full line-up of events.

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Why? They're some of the liveliest classical music events of the whole year.
When: 15th July to 10th September, 2011
Where: Mainly the Royal Albert Hall (see website for full list of locations)
Cost: From £5 upwards.
Comments
I'll admit that my only experience with The Proms is watching the Doctor Who special on television, but I'd love to check it out one day. I can't claim to be a classical music buff, but I do enjoy listening to it. Perhaps I'll make it to the next one.
By Natasha Stewart - senior reviewer
Thursday, 14th of July @ 09:20 am
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