Royal Albert Hall’s chief executive believes government’s pilot schemes are prioritising ‘popular events’ over concert halls

Craig Hassall told Times Radio that he's 'very, very deflated' by the delay to the lifting of restrictions and believes the government is overlooking the Royal Albert Hall

Royal Albert Hall, London (Proms)

The Royal Albert Hall’s chief executive Craig Hassall has told Times Radio that he is ‘very, very deflated’ by the delay to the lifting of government restrictions and believes the government’s pilot schemes for large events are being prioritised for sports and ‘popular events’ over concert halls.

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‘It’s galling that the pilots being mooted are of course the most popular events… I’m getting very cynical, and very bitter and twisted about the whole thing,’ he says.

The government announced yesterday that crowds will be invited back to sporting events such as the Euro 2020 football matches, Wimbledon tennis tournament and the British Grand Prix as part of its pilot scheme.

‘We’ve offered the [Royal Albert Hall] to the government several times but without any interest from their side,’ he says, adding that concert halls are ‘very safe places’.

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The news has come ahead of this year’s BBC Proms season, which is set to take place in the Royal Albert Hall but hasn’t been announced as part of of the government’s pilot schemes. ‘We still don’t know today what the situation will be and how big the audience will be,’ BBC Proms director David Pickard told BBC Music Magazine this week. ‘Even in the worst-case scenario, we should be able to get 1000 people audience in the Royal Albert Hall, hopefully more.’