Believed by many to be the world's greatest classical music festival, the BBC Proms are entering their 116th year. The first Proms concert took place on 10 August 1895, organised by impresario Robert Newman, with the avowed intent of reaching a wider audience by offering popular programmes in an informal setting. In 1896 Newman offered Henry Wood conductorship of the first Proms season.
When the Proms ran into financial difficulties in 1927, the BBC took over. The concerts, which featured the BBC Symphony Orchestra from 1930, were broadcast, achieving Wood's aim of 'truly democratising the message of music'.
When the Proms were bombed out of their original home, the Queen's Hall, in 1941, they moved to the Royal Albert Hall, which became their permanent home.
The BBC Proms now include over 70 main concerts, welcome leading international performers, and showcase the best of British music and performance. Every prom is broadcast live on Radio 3, and many concerts are featured on BBC Television.
In 1996 Proms in the Park, Proms Chamber Music and the Proms Lecture were launched. Extra events surrounding the festival - including Proms Literary Festival, Family Orchestra and Family Music Intro - continue to proliferate.
Within the main venue, the Royal Albert Hall, there are seats in the stalls, choir, circle, tier and gallery. The ground-floor arena is for standing only, true to the 'promenade' tradition of the original founder.