It’s that time again… and for those of you that have no idea what I’m talking about, let me explain.
What are The Proms?
The Proms is an eight week Summer season of brilliant orchestral classical music concerts, of which there are often two daily, held mostly in the Royal Albert Hall, here in London.
What is Promming?
‘Prom’ is actually short for ‘promenade concert’, which used refer to outdoor concerts in London, where the audience was free to stroll around while the orchestra was playing… all very calm and gentile, don’t you know.
Today, it has come to mean something slightly different, (think more silly hats and bobbing up and down) however the general idea is the same. Promenaders or ‘Prommers’ now watch world class, sensational classical concerts from the main arena (the bit right in front of the stage) and the gallery inside the Albert Hall. For £5.
Unbelievable, isn’t it? And all you have to do is queue…
So, how does it work and what do you need to do?
1. If you’re likely to go regularly to the proms, you might want to consider buying a season ticket, which will give you access to all the proms…. there are also weekend passes available.
2. Knowing when and where to queue is key to your promming success! So you first need to decide where you want to be as there are two separate queues – yep – it’s not as simple as you’d think! The queue for the arena (right in front of the orchestra) is on the left side of the Queen’s Steps leading up to the Albert Hall and the Gallery (up top with amazing acoustics and a proper bird’s eye view) queue winds all the way down Bremner Road.
3. The earlier you can get there the better, but don’t worry if the queue looks long – there are up to 1350 spaces for each prom, so you should be able to get in if you don’t get there too late! Although some of the more popular concerts can see people queuing from breakfast time ;)
4. A steward will give you a raffle ticket to mark your place in the queue. This doesn’t guarantee you a place inside, but it does mean that you can scamper off to the loo or to grab a snack and then re-join the queue. But, you mustn’t be gone for longer than 30 minutes and you need to be back for when the doors open.
5. Bring a newspaper and a bottle of water – you might be queuing for a while and it can get warm up at the top in the gallery!
If you’re really, REALLY lucky, you might end up promming at the Last Night of The Proms, where tickets are allocated via a ballot. I have never been and it is so high on my hit list, I can’t begin to tell you!
It would be a dream come true for me to go, but until that day comes, I will satisfy myself with watching it on the telly, waving my Union Jack from my sofa and boohooing into my hanky during Land of Hope and Glory…
And that, my friends, is how to prom like a pro.
Go forth and conquer.