5 top tips for attending the BBC Proms
The BBC Music Magazine team shares its advice for making the most of a visit to the Royal Albert Hall
Tip No. 1: Pack light
The Royal Albert Hall is a big place, but whether you’re sitting in the stalls or promming in the arena, there isn’t a huge amount of wriggle room. So unless it’s chucking it down or blasting an arctic gale, try and leave coats, bags and other bits and bobs at home.
It’s hard enough, at the height of summer, to concentrate on a Mahler symphony with everyone heating up around you, without worrying about tripping over your stuff. And, bonus, you won’t forget anything when you leave. Oliver Condy, editor
Tip No. 2: Prom early!
If you are planning to stand in the Arena (at just £6!) and you want to get near the front, get there very early! Like Wimbledon, some Prommers show an extraordinary devotion to the cause – for a major work such as Mahler symphony, you can expect the queue to start forming from as early as 8am.
Bring a book to help pass the day or, if you are feeling really sociable, you could even talk to your fellow concert-goers. Presuming they want to talk to you, that is… Jeremy Pound, deputy editor
Tip No. 3: Make friends in the queue
If you are joining the Proms stalwarts in the queue, you may need to rely on them when times get tough. When the heavens open and you are left with no umbrella; when you lose track of time and run back to the Albert Hall after your allotted 30-minute break is over and need someone to cover for you; when it’s 30 degrees and you are without sun cream or simply when you’re sitting in sheer boredom wanting someone to talk to, your fellow Prommers will come in handy. Picnic eggs and/or sausage rolls are recommended for getting the conversation started. Freya Parr, editorial assistant
Top No. 4: Don't miss the Prommers' fundraising update
If you’re heading to your first ever BBC Prom this year do stick around in the hall during the interval. You’ll witness the almost ritualistic tradition of the Prommers’ announcing how much money The Promenaders’ Musical Charities organisation has raised.
This dedicated band of concertgoers collects money at the end of each Prom, with the funds going to a range of fantastic causes and they shout out their running total from the pit. It’s not always easy to hear, but they always get a round of applause from those that do. So, listen up and why not throw a few coins in the bucket on your way out? Michael Beek, reviews editor
Tip No. 5: Listen from afar
If you’re not a Londoner, or perhaps even if you are, sometimes the thought of a trip to the Royal Albert Hall on a hot summer’s evening is just a bit too much. When I moved to Bristol, I had to give up my regular weekday Promming trips. But all was not lost.
My tip? Pour yourself a glass of something nice, turn on the radio – and enjoy ever note of the Prom at home. What could be nicer than sitting in the garden, with the sounds of a Prom wafting out of the backdoor? Or curling up on the sofa and listening to the concert in Radio 3’s beautifully-balanced sound? Give it a go. Rebecca Franks, managing editor
Freya Parr is BBC Music Magazine's Digital Editor and Staff Writer. She has also written for titles including the Guardian, Circus Journal, Frankie and Suitcase Magazine, and runs The Noiseletter, a fortnightly arts and culture publication. Freya's main areas of interest and research lie in 20th-century and contemporary music.