The BBC has been accused of betraying the spirit of the Proms after allowing more than 1,000 tickets to be sold online.
Some 1,350 tickets for the famous music festival at Royal Albert Hall are available in advance online this year. The Last Night of the Proms takes place on Saturday September 9.
Some standing tickets for the Royal Albert Hall arena and gallery are available online for £6 ($7.77/€6.53), plus a £1.12 booking fee, which means that paying on the door is still the cheapest option.
The festival’s roots and traditions go back to the London promenade concerts in which ‘prommers’ could walk between the playing musicians, rather than sitting in pre-paid seats. The move has left many fans saying that advance tickets are a breach of the Proms’ founding principles.
According to the Telegraph, one critic of the online scheme, Adrian Greenman, a prommer in his sixties, said: “The whole point of the Proms is to queue up. It was always for ordinary people who happened to be walking, or promenading, past.
“Also, the changes discriminate against the many people who don’t use a computer. Essentially it goes against the principle of the Proms.”
The BBC Proms said: “Promming (standing) tickets have been available to buy online on the morning of each concert since 2016 in an effort to increase accessibility to the Proms for those who may find it difficult to get to the Royal Albert Hall to queue on the day, including those who live outside London.
“As always up to 1,350 Promming tickets are available to purchase for just £6 for each concert and so far this year around 15 per cent of available Promming tickets have been purchased online on the day.”
In early 2017, a former president of the Royal Albert Hall described the venue’s leaders as a “national disgrace” over the tickets scandal that has brought its charitable status into question.
Richard Lyttelton, who served as president between 2010 and 2011, reported that a document circulated among members gave advice on how to “significantly improve income from unwanted tickets”.
It emerged that debenture holders, who own a fifth of the London hall’s 5,000 seats, are able to sell on their free tickets rather than return them to the box office for sale at face value.
Image: The Land