Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Last Night of Proms

As I dragged my boyfriend last year to the Last Night of Proms, I knew that I would have to continue the tradition this year with the surrogate boyfriend, Colin. (Hi Colin!) When I first considered going to this huge event, I thought I should look into how exactly one gets tickets that aren't £2,200. The ushers weren't able to really tell me, but the box office said to show up on the day at about 8am with a lounge chair and picnic and that I should be able to get a ticket for a fiver. And so we did. And that's really the trick folks! It's that easy. You're not guranteed a ticket- but at about 10:30am they hand out numbered "raffle" tickets (so as to keep an ordered queue) and tell you to be back in the queue for a count at 3pm. At which point you can pop over to the Kensingon Gardens for a picnic or if you're lucky enough, just head home for a couple hours.

There are in fact two queues for arena tickets. One for season ticket holders and one for everyone else (ie: me and probably you too). The season ticket holders get to buy their tickets first and then *if* there is still more room, they start letting in everone else. But I've never heard of people not getting in . I'm sure they run out of room eventually- but I've never actually witnessed this.... In any case, my raffle ticket was No.68, my actual ticket was No. 467 and I remember reading somewhere that they have about 750 tickets up for grabs.

What I'm trying to say here is that you should make the effort to go if you happen to be in London at the begining of September. I'm sure every Brit knows about it but thinks it's too difficult or expensive to get into the Hall- which is fair enough considering it already costs £25 to go see the Last Night in Hyde Park, which isn't even the "real" thing. On the other hand, most foreigners who aren't in tune with the goings-on of the classical music world won't even know what the Proms are!

The Proms are the world's largest classical music festival, running from mid June to mid September every year, culminating in the famous Last Night which usually features some of the newest, best and/or most promising classical musicians in the world. And if I had access to Youtube I would now link you to videos of last year's proms, featuring the gorgeous and hilarious opera singer Anna Netrebko.

The Last Night of Proms might be the most patriotic event I've ever attended and even though I'm in no way British (in fact my American and French blood quite possibly makes me the opposite of British) you can't help but wave your union jack, learn the melody to "Jerusalem", sing along to "Rule, Britania!", stomp along to the sailor's song and shake hands with your neighbors during "Auld Lang Syne" at the close of the night. I'd say it's really something worth seeing at least once.


  1. I really can't help it... Soon I'll be saying pudding for desert! even when I don't mean jello!!