BBC Proms 2023: Inside the world’s biggest classical music festival

BBC Proms 2023: Inside the world’s biggest classical music festival



Check out the star-studded line-up, from a celebrity conductor to a royal cellist.

Few music festivals are more than one hundred years old, but that’s just one of the many reasons that the BBC Proms is special. With roots dating back to 1895, the event is one of the world’s biggest classical music festivals. 

Today, it has become a staple in the London calendar, and takes place annually in the Royal Albert Hall. Running from 14 July to 9 September, it’s bursting with local and international talent. So, whether you’re a classical music connoisseur or curious, here’s how to watch the show(s).

BBC Proms 2023

BBC Proms history

BBC Proms aims to bring classical music to the widest possible audience. Impresario Robert Newman hoped that low ticket prices and an informal atmosphere would attract a new audience, and Henry Wood was one of the first conductors at the inaugural event. 

It wasn’t until 1927 that the BBC took over the running of the concerts, and the festival received the name that we know today. Fun fact: the name is short for promenade concerts, which were shows where people could stand and listen. 

Over the years, the BBC Proms has been home to not only entertaining but historic events. The festival even ran during World War One and World War Two. The show still went on, although some seasons were shortened. Plus, in 2011, a pro-Palestinian protest outside the Royal Albert Hall forced the show to come off air. 

When you attend the BBC Proms, there is no formal dress code. If you want to dress up, you can; if you don’t, nobody is judging. The audience are encouraged to get into the spirit of the event, and you will find people waving the British flags at the Last Night of the Proms. If you attend this event, Jerusalem, Rule, Britannia, and the British national anthem are traditionally played at the end. 

BBC Proms 2023

BBC Proms 2023 line-up 

While the BBC Proms’ flagship location is the Royal Albert Hall, it has launched pop-ups at other venues. For the first time, there will be weekend-long events held at Sage Gateshead. Plus, there will be concerts in Aberystwyth, Dewsbury, Londonderry, Gateshead, Great Yarmouth, Perth and Truro.

BBC Proms 2023’s star artists include Benjamin Grosvenor, Isata Kanneh-Mason, Sir Simon Rattle and Yuja Wang. The event showcases the best UK orchestras, but also has an international line-up. The groups include Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, Budapest Festival Orchestra and Boston Symphony Orchestra. 

If you’re Prince Harry and Meghan Markle fans, you can catch the cellist that played at their wedding. Sheku Kanneh-Mason is performing on 9 September, and is joined by soprano Lise Davidsen. 

BBC Proms

Other highlights include Proms at Sage Gatehead: Yazz Ahmed and Arun Ghosh on 21 July, which sees the trumpeter and bandleader create a psychedelic jazz sound. British singer Rufus Wainwright has two shows in one night on 5 September, and presents Baroque-inspired pop music. Plus, Lata Mangeshkar: Bollywood Legend takes place on 28 July, and celebrates the singer who passed away this year. 

Happy Proms. 

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