BBC Proms attendance is still below par

BBC Proms attendance is still below par


norman lebrecht

September 09, 2017

The BBC has released audience figure for the Proms, showing an 89 percent attendance at the main evening Proms, one percent above last year but still below the 90+% of the previous decade.

No figures have been released for lunchtime, late-night and external Proms.

Press release below.


The 2017 BBC Proms ran from Friday 14 July to Saturday 9 September and featured eight weeks of concerts, talks, workshops, family events and more.

Highlights of the 2017 festival included an opening weekend of Elgar with the Staatskapelle Berlin conducted by Daniel Barenboim; the return of the ‘Proms at …’ series, matching music to venues across London and Hull; the first ever Relaxed Prom; Sir András Schiff performing Book 1 of Bach’s ‘The Well-Tempered Clavier’ (he will return in 2018 to perform Book 2); the first complete live performance of Ravi Shankar and Philip Glass’ album ‘Passages’ with Anoushka Shankar conducted by Karen Kamensek; 30 premieres as new music remains at the heart of the festival; and a host of international orchestras, including the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Oslo Philharmonic and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.


Average attendance for the main evening Proms in the Royal Albert Hall this year was 89% and well over half of the concerts in the Royal Albert Hall sold out. The Proms welcomed nearly 60,000 Prommers through the doors of the Royal Albert Hall, purchasing standing tickets which are sold on the day for £6. 


More than 35,500 tickets were bought by people attending the Proms for the first time and over 10,000 under 18s attended concerts across the season.


David Pickard, Director, BBC Proms, says: ‘It’s been a remarkable season of world-class music-making and our outstanding audience figures prove that classical music is in rude health. Our audiences have embraced the huge breadth of music on offer throughout the eight weeks of the festival – from Mahler’s ‘Resurrection’ Symphony performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under their Chief Conductor Sakari Oramo to a concert celebrating the music of Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie – and show a huge public appetite for classical music, including new and lesser-known works. Thanks to the BBC – who have been running the Proms for 90 years – I’m delighted that we are able to continue Henry Wood’s founding vision of bringing the best quality classical music to the widest possible audiences.’



  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    I only went to nine but each one was chock a block. My concern is why don’t more black people attend?

  • Una says:

    And there is the cost of it all on top of everything else, and choices have to be made as to how you spend your money. Okay if you live in London and can Prom. There was a lot more money or disposable income around in the last decade, and the Proms have become more expensive – more percentage-wise for me personally than even my salary or pension has gone up – and yet they are more broad in their presentation of artists and types of music, and particularly the late night Proms. You have a budget and you just can’t afford to go to everything and anything, as I used to when I lived in London.. For some it’s not a priority to go when there are some on the telly that you can turn off if you don’t like them. I went to the Indian and Pakistani one, and people of those cultures travelled far to hear but no doubt of a certain class who could afford to do so, sit in the stalls and pay the train and hotel costs too that you incur.. Hardly anyone sitting up in the Circle – except officially me and a handful of others but then we were allowed to move forwards for that concert. It’s a vicious circle and when there’s no music in the schools, then that’s another problem.

    • Elizabeth Owen says:

      I live in north Wales and book the train tickets on the Train line 12 weeks ahead to get the cheapest possible seats. I stay in a good 3 star hotel and don’t prom. I book the first day by computer and then wait ages for the tickets to arrive. In spite of asking for stalls tickets I was allocated god awful seats this year and complained. You are right about the price. I was charged £55 for a seat in a box (ugh) on the second tier and it was in the second row behind the red curtain. I could see four feet of down stage right and not even the orchestra. In spite of it being. 7-15 I went steaming down to the box office and demanded a change of seat, which I was able to get, luckily. They are taking the mick and should really have a better system. I appreciate that over 70 concerts with up to 6,000 seats to allocate is difficult but hey we have things called box office computers.
      I heard many people complaining this year and also that they don’t give refunds if someone is unable to attend but will only change for a ticket for another prom. which may be OK if you live in London but not otherwise.

  • David Boxwell says:

    Obvious solution: less Biber, more Bieber.