Roll out the blanket, set up the picnic - it's time to plan for BBC Proms in the Park 2010
The tradition of the Last Night Of The Proms at the Royal Albert Hall is known the world over - it's a coming together of thousands of classical-music fans armed with Union Jack flags and hats, bobbing up and down to the finale of "Land Of Hope and Glory", "Fantasia On British Sea Songs", "Rule Brittania", "Jerusalem" and, of course, the National Anthem. Patriotism aside, it always looks a rousing night when transmitted on TV, but always a little out of reach since tickets for the Last Night traditionally sell out very quickly.
An alternative worth considering is one of the regional variations entitled "Proms In The Park" which run simultaneously on 11th September. The hosting sites are London's Hyde Park, Dundee's Caird Hall, Lisburn's Hillsborough Castle, Salford's Buile Hill Park and Swansea's Singleton Park and all feature special guests and a variety of tickets to get in.
Dundee and Lisburn are complimentary entry ONLY and tickets are issued via the BBC website on a first come first served 'lottery' basis. Guests at Dundee includes the familiar voice of Lesley Garrett while Lisburn still has a programme to announce (the Ulster Orchestra will be appearing for sure).
London's Hyde Park should just about be big enough to contain a decent-sized audience, to say the least. Huge stars José Carreras and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa will lead the celebrations with tickets costing £30 for general admittance, or £60 if you wish to include a picnic for two to munch on prior to the performances starting at 5.30pm. There is also an option to buy a book of 8 tickets for the price of 7 (which works out at £26.25 each). Fees are not included.
Salford's Buile Park will welcome the versatile John Barrowman as its headliner - tickets cost £13 (Salford-residents special price) to £20 - while the harpist-extraordinaire Catrin Finch performs at Swansea's Singleton Park. Tickets for the Welsh leg cost just £10.
Take a flag, food and a drop or two of your favourite and pray that the rain stays away for the party of the classical year.