We tend to think of Classical music being a bit old hat and only for posh people. This is a shame because whilst it would be fair to say that most classical composers made their money from commissions from Royalty and the Aristocracy the music has survived and still retains its power and glory. One of the ways that this music found its way to the general public was via “The Proms”. They were called this as they were performed as a Promenade concert which was an outdoor performance in one of London’s many pleasure gardens. Most of the Proms now are performed at the Royal Albert Hall over an eight week festival in the summer. However, since the BBC took over its running and organisation they have created the Proms in the Park which is actually more in keeping with the original theme of the Proms. It attracts a large crowd and so the need for Event Medical Cover is essential to provide support and health cover for those that are attending.
The idea of Proms, both indoor and outdoor, comes from the brainchild of Louis Antoine Jullien and Sir Arthur Sullivan. They made the Proms a feature of London life with the emphasis on the music being heard. It was the great impresario Robert Newman who organised the annual Proms proper from August 1895 and he took on the mantle and ethos of Jullien and Sullivan. Newman made sure that the atmosphere at the Proms would be less stuffy. He allowed drinking and smoking plus he reduced the ticket prices to open it up to the lower classes. Newman’s plan was to start with the lighter more accessible classics and then move on to more complicated pieces drawing in and establishing a regular audience first.
He employed the youthful conductor Henry Wood on the insistence of the Proms financial backer George Cathcart. Wood is seen as the father of the Proms, a bust of his head is placed in pride of place in front of the organ in the Royal Albert Hall, but Newman’s influence and organisation was paramount to the success of the Proms as well. Woods organised what was performed, Newman did the behind the scenes planning. Wood insisted that new and contemporary works both British and foreign should be featured, plus a rediscovering and unearthing of pieces long forgotten or disregarded, and as the conductor he was the public face of the Proms.
Despite little hiccups such as Newman’s untimely death in 1927 and the loss of the Proms home to bombing in the Second World War, resulting in several moves until finally settling on the Royal Albert Hall, it has remained a part of British culture.