Record crowds flock to Proms

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The Proms achieved record attendances this year, the BBC said yesterday.

The 102nd season, which ends tomorrow, has averaged an 89 per cent of sale of seats for the evening concerts, a 7.8 per cent increase on last year.

This year's season also had a record number of concerts, 72 in 58 days, and a total of 240,000 tickets were sold, the highest ever.

Nicholas Kenyon, controller of Radio 3, who took over from Sir John Drummond this year as director of the Proms, said: "This has been an extremely adventurous Proms season, with 23 premieres and no less than 79 works new to the Proms.

"We have sold all seats at 37 concerts, for programmes including major contemporary works by Turnage, Glanert, Gerhard and Tippett among many others."

Research shows that the season at the Albert Hall attracted a substantial number of first-timers and it is hoped many will become Radio 3 listeners.

Mr Kenyon will take a more relaxed attitude to the atmosphere of the last night than his predecessor, who last year forbade "extraneous" noises. Mr Kenyon said: "I am a 'let joy be unconfined' man myself."