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Proms concerts

A popular form of classical music concert in the UK is known as a prom. The best-known proms are the BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall in London, a tradition which started in 1895. There is a series of concerts over about two months, with the final concert in mid-September being known as The Last Night of the Proms. The final half an hour features a collection of traditional British favourites, and the audience enjoys a party atmosphere and wave flags.

Last Night of the Proms Collection (CD)
Artist: BBC Concert Orchestra
Label: Philips
Date: July 2007
The Proms - A New History (book)
Editors: Jenny Doctor, David Wright, Nicholas Kenyon
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Date: April 2007

Since 1996 on the last night there are also BBC Proms in the Park concerts in various parks across the UK on the same night as the Last Night of the Proms concert in the Royal Albert Hall.

In recent years a number of other organisations have also created proms events. Most of these concerts are in the summer months, usually on Saturday evening, and take place in parks or in the gardens of castles or country houses. Proms may also be performed in concert halls at any time of the year.

The pictures below were taken at the 2008 Proms in the Park on Saturday 20th July 2008 in Campbell Park, Milton Keynes. This event was organised by Eastern Breeze.


Proms concerts are often in the evening during the weekend. Typically the garden or park will be open to ticketholders at about 6pm, giving people time to find a place and perhaps to have a picnic. The first half of the concert might be from 8-9pm, the interval might last for 30 minutes, and the second half of the concert might be from 9:30-10:30pm. If it is important for your plans, check the approximate timings with the organiser.

If you are going by public transport you should plan carefully how to get there (country parks are not usually well-served by buses) and in particular how to get home afterwards (late-night buses are usually only available in cities). Saturday night is a busy time for taxis, so it may be wise to pre-book one and to agree exactly where it can pick you up (avoiding areas which will be busy with cars leaving). Since several thousand people usually attend proms concerts, so if you drive there you can expect some delays getting away from the car park afterwards.

If you are going to an outdoor prom it is wise to check the weather forecast before you go. It may be cold by 10pm, even if it is the middle of summer and if the daytime has been warm, so think about taking a coat, scarf, gloves and blanket. A thermos of hot tea or coffee may keep you warm, or you can buy some hot food or drinks at the venue. An umbrella or waterproof coat will keep you dry if it rains, and may help to shelter you from wind. If you plan to sit on the ground take a waterproof rug, in case the grass is wet. If you are travelling to the concert by car you might take a folding chair and table (check first if this is allowed - there may be limits on space). Tables and chairs are available for hire at some events (you may wish to hire these in advance because the number of items available will be limited) - as well as the hire charge a deposit will need to be paid which you will get back when you return them at the end of the concert. It will be dark when you leave, so a torch could be useful (do not take candles because these could cause a fire). Take a flag if you wish - the usual choices are the English, Welsh, Scottish or British flags (some of these will probably be on sale at the venue).


A portable stage is set up in the garden or park. Speakers are set up to make sure that everyone can hear the performances. The stage is lit up after dark.


The conductor not only leads the orchestra but also introduces the different works, often in a witty and amusing manner.


A full orchestra performs on the stage.


There is usually a choir. Often a tenor and soprano perform operatic classics such as Puccini's Nessun dorma or Time to say goodbye.


The finale often includes patriotic songs such as Fantasia of British Sea Songs or Rule Britannia:

When Britain first, at heaven's command,
Arose from out the azure main,
Arose, arose, arose from out the azure main,
This was the charter, the charter of the land,
And guardian angels sang this strain:

Rule Britania! Britannia rules the waves.
Britons never, never, never shall be slaves.
Rule Britannia! Britannia rules the waves.
Britons never, never, never shall be slaves.

Other popular patriotic songs include Elgar's Nimrod or his Pomp and Circumstance March Number 1: Land of hope and glory:

Land of Hope and Glory, Mother of the Free,
How shall we extol thee, who are born of thee?
Wider still, and wider, shall thy bounds be set;
God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet!
God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet!

Also popular choice is William Blake's hymn Jerusalem:

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?

And did the countenance divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among those dark Satanic mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spears o'clouds unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!

I will not cease from mental fight
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
'Til we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land
'Til we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land

The proms always end with excited waving of flags, and outdoor events may end with fireworks or sometimes the firing of cannons (especially for Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture).


Outdoor proms concerts during the summer of 2008 include the following:

Concert Series Location (and nearest major town/city) Date (2008) Postcode (map) Tickets
Proms In the Park Lacock Abbey (near Bath) Sat 5 Jul SN15 2LG TicketSwitch
Proms In the Park Petworth Park (near Brighton) Sat 12 Jul GU28 0AE TicketSwitch
Proms In the Park Campbell Park (Milton Keynes) Sat 19 Jul MK9 4AD TicketSwitch
Proms In the Park Bedford Park (Bedford) Sat 2 Aug MK40 2JZ TicketSwitch
Proms In the Park Bowood House (near Swindon) Sat 16 Aug SN11 0LZ TicketSwitch
Proms In the Park Stoneleigh Abbey (near Coventry) Sat 30 Aug CV8 2LF TicketSwitch
Classic FM's Proms Spectacular Marble Hill (Twickenham, near London) Sat 23 Aug TW1 2NL Ticketmaster
The Spitfire Prom Belton House (near Nottingham) Sat 12 Jul NG32 2LS Ticketmaster
Flying Proms Spectacular Imperial War Museum, Duxford (near Cambridge) Sat 19 Jul CB22 4QR Ticketmaster
Flying Proms Spectacular Calke Abbey (near Derby) Sat 9 Aug DE73 7LE Ticketmaster
Headcorn Flying Proms Headcorn Aerodrome (near Ashford) Sat 23 Aug TN27 9HX click here
Proms Spectacular Weston Park (near Wolverhampton/Birmingham) Sat 26 Jul TF11 8LE Ticketmaster
Proms Spectacular Stonor Park (Henley, near High Wycombe) Sat 2 Aug RG9 6HF Ticketmaster
Proms Spectacular Castle Howard (near York) Sat 16 Aug YO60 7DA Ticketmaster
Proms Spectacular Battle Abbey (near Hastings) Sun 24 Aug TN33 0AD Ticketmaster
Proms Spectacular Harewood House (near Leeds) Sat 30 Aug LS17 9LG Ticketmaster
Battle Proms Concert Burghley House (near Peterborough) Sat 12 Jul PE9 3JY Ticketmaster
Battle Proms Concert Blenheim Palace (near Oxford) Sat 19 Jul OX20 1PX Ticketmaster
Battle Proms Concert Hatfield House (near Welwyn Garden City) Sat 26 Jul AL9 5NQ Ticketmaster
Battle Proms Concert Highclere Castle (Newbury) Sat 2 Aug RG20 9RN Ticketmaster
Battle Proms Concert Borde Hill Garden (near Haywards Heath) Sat 9 Aug RH16 1XP Ticketmaster
Battle Proms Concert Althorp Park (near Northampton) Sat 23 Aug NN7 4HQ Ticketmaster
Kenwood Summer Prom Kenwood House (London) Sat 12 Jul NW3 7JR Ticketmaster
Proms Spectacular The Trentham Estate (near Stoke-on-Trent) Sat 23 Aug ST4 8AX See Tickets
BBC Proms in the Park Hyde Park (London) Sat 13 Sep W2 2UH See Tickets
BBC Proms in the Park Singleton Park (Swansea) Sat 13 Sep SA2 8QJ BBC
BBC Proms in the Park Glasgow Green (Glasgow) Sat 13 Sep G1 5DB BBC
BBC Proms in the Park City Hall, Donegal Square (Belfast) Sat 13 Sep BT1 5GS BBC

Indoor proms concerts include the following:

Concert Series Location (city) Date (2008/9) Postcode (map) Tickets
Classical Spectacular Royal Albert Hall (London) 20 - 23 Nov SW7 2AP Raymond Gubbay
Classical Spectacular Manchester Evening News Arena (Manchester) Sat 29 Nov M3 1AR Ticketmaster
Classical Spectacular The NIA (Birmingham) Sat 6 Dec B1 2AA Raymond Gubbay
Classical Spectacular Echo Arena (Liverpool) Sat 7 Mar 2009 L3 4BX Raymond Gubbay
Last Night of the Welsh Proms St David's Hall (Cardiff) Sat 26 July CF10 2DP St David's Hall
Last Night of the Autumn Proms The Bridgewater Hall (Manchester)
Fri 17 Oct SN15 2LG Raymond Gubbay

Some of the organisations which organise Proms concerts in the UK:
BBC Proms:
Eastern Breeze:
Battle Proms:
Summer Magic Proms:
MA Concerts:
Welsh Proms:
Raymond Gubbay:

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