Update Tuesday 6 September 2011: For more information on the Last Night of the Proms, Proms in the Park and to follow my live blog of proceedings on the day go here.
The BBC Proms Press and PR office makes me laugh a bit. They don’t intend to, I know. It’s twice now I’ve received a communication from them on a Sunday.
The first time I thought I’d done something wrong, something which warranted some poor soul to have to trek into Broadcasting House early on a Sunday morning and pen something scathing and threatening so that I didn’t say or do anything which might endanger the forthcoming season. When I read the email and discovered it proudly announced the statistics from the first day of ticket sales, I smiled. After all, didn’t the press intern have to go into Broadcasting House to send that email anyway? Because surely, them lot at BBC Proms Press and PR don’t have remote access, do they? Surely their budget gets ploughed into the season of musical entertainment.
I’m digressing. Digressing from the point of this post. Because having received an email from the same adorable lady again on a Sunday morning, I’m meant to be writing about the BBC Proms in the Park 2011 and the news that Westlife will be headlining the park-bound open air gig on Saturday 10 September 2011 which sisters the Royal Albert Hall Last Night just across the road.
Proms in the Park is always a bit how I imagine me being an older sibling would have been if I’d been one. I would have been in my late-teens still living at home during the University holidays, maintaining my bookishness, opting to watch late night documentaries on BBC Two about depleted stocks of cod in the North Sea while my younger brother played rock music in his pokey bedroom upstairs. We would meet for an evening meal every night and nod at each other because we had the same surname, but other than that he kept his space and I kept mine.
So it is with Proms in the Park. The most remarkable aspect of the BBC Proms for me. The truth is that in the fifteen years that Sir Terry Wogan has hosted the thing, I’ve never attended it. I’ve been happy to queue one year to attend the Proms in the Albert Hall on the last night – happy to queue to listen to any Prom concert in the season pretty much, but the idea of sitting in a park with an umbrella, some sausage rolls and a few bottles of Cava (for myself) doesn’t especially excite me. Proms in the Park just isn’t on my radar (some years, the Last Night in the Albert Hall isn’t either – it certainly wasn’t last year, as the video below will prove).
And yet, considerable numbers of people flock to the Hyde Park gig. It is – on a smaller scale compared to the likes of the Eurovision – an event all in its own right. It’s a party on a summer’s evening. An excuse for friends to get together and have a picnic, safe from anyone accusing them of being achingly middle-class. It’s the one night of the year it’s perfectly acceptable – perhaps even encouraged – to be middle class.
This year’s big pull – the big headline act – is Westlife. I know little about them, other than always getting them confused with Boyzone. They’re not a pull for me, but they might be for others. Glamorous soprano Katharine Jenkins – last seen splashed across BBC Television in the Christmas Doctor Who – has a spot in the show. So too tenor Russell Watson.
But the big attraction for the line-up is tenor Josh Groban (above). A hugely talented and sickeningly versatile singer who I first saw deliver an electrifying performance playing the Russian chess player in the Royal Albert Hall concert performance of Tim Rice and Benny/Bjorn’s concept musical Chess (there’s a version he performed on Swedish TV embedded below). The boy can sing masterfully with a microphone and proved himself more than capable to taking on the demanding role. He has a massive following in the States and the UK and appears to be able to turn his hand to anything. For my money, he’s not on TV enough in this country by any means.
One other notable appearance at the concert will be that of pianist Lang Lang who has a busy night on Saturday 10 September doing a stint inside the Royal Albert Hall as well as one in the open air for the park audience. You’d think his agent would have insisted the BBC used it’s considerable expertise in mounting a live relay so the pianist didn’t have to venture outside. Maybe it’s time for him to get another agent.
Information about buying tickets for the Proms in the Park is available here. I’m really not spelling it out on this blog post otherwise I risk looking like nothing but a mouthpiece for the BBC. And seeing as they don’t pay me for me using my personal blog to promote their content I am quite happy to make it the responsibility of you the reader to click somewhere else to find out the necessary information. Do though. It promises to be a nice night, just so long as it doesn’t rain.
The picture used of lovely Mr Groban in this blog post was taken from the Josh Groban website. If you want me to take it down then drop me a line. Don’t start getting your lawyers involved. I’m really quite approachable without any of that silly nonsense.The picture of the park full of Proms in the Parkers was taken in 2008 by Flickr User Chris Jobling and was used here in accordance with the Creative Commons wotnot that some Flickr users subscribe to. So there.