Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Royal Albert All; Live Experience: The Royal Albert Hall Is on Course to Host ... Performances Next Year, Including the Annual BBC Proms, Just Six Short of Its Record, Set in 2004

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Royal Albert All; Live Experience: The Royal Albert Hall Is on Course to Host ... Performances Next Year, Including the Annual BBC Proms, Just Six Short of Its Record, Set in 2004

Article excerpt

Byline: LOUISE JURY

THE Royal Albert Hall is almost fully booked for next yeardespite facing competition from new venues such as the O2 and Wembley.

Although not every event in the diary is confirmed, it is set to host actsranging from Mark Knopfler to the Mozart Festival Orchestra. The hall, with5,500 seats, is on course to match this year's tally of 359 performancessix short of the 2004 record of 365.

The packed schedule comes despite fierce competition from the former

Dome with 20,000 seats, Wembley and the revamped Roundhouse.

Chief executive David Elliott said: "Five or 10 years ago, everyone waspredicting the demise of the live concert but the opposite has happened.

"Curiously, because everybody can now play their iPod and we're inundated withdownloads, the live experience is at a premium." Mr Elliott said there wascompetition between venues, but added: "The O2 has just had a series ofheadline acts but some of those artists would probably never play here and someprefer the intimate feel of the Royal Albert Hall." He said he also wanted amixed programme, not just big names. This year, the hall held the first in aseries of events called Hush aimed at presenting younger, edgier artists toappeal to new audiences. It has also introduced lunchtime and Sunday brunchconcerts in its restaurants.

However, ticket prices, which are normally set by the artist rather than thevenue, are rising. For the Hush series, the hall aims to keep prices at [pounds sterling]17 to[pounds sterling]20 but big-name acts can command [pounds sterling]70 for the best seats.

Mr Elliott said: "Prices are creeping up north of [pounds sterling]50 even for non-charityevents so the big question is whether audiences hold up. It amazes me they keepon buying and it's the most expensive tickets that sell first."

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