Last Night Of The Proms director hopes 2019 event 'will not be political'

EU flags at the Last Night of the Proms. Photograph: BBC.

EU flags at the Last Night of the Proms. Photograph: BBC.

Archant

The Last Night Of The Proms should not be a political occasion, the chief of the world-famous music festival has said, despite tensions over Brexit.

Since the EU referendum, some concert-goers at the Last Night Of The Proms have shown their solidarity with the European Union by waving European flags.

Anti-Brexit campaigners the EU Flag Mafia handed out more than 20,000 at the last event.

It was a move that led to Brexiteers calling on the BBC to remove the flags from concertgoers.

Asked whether this year's finale, a traditionally patriotic occasion, will be a political hot potato, Proms director David Pickard told the Press Association: “I hope not.

“I want the Last Night not to be a political occasion but a musical occasion.

“It's a time for letting your hair down, it's a time to celebrate the end of this great festival and I don't want it to be a political platform.

“In the end, I can only say, from the three or four years I've been doing this job, the Last Night Of The Proms, whatever the political tensions there might be, has always been and always felt like a great celebration of music.”

The festival, based at the Royal Albert Hall and most famous for its classical music programme, will be featuring hip-hop with an orchestra.

“There will be some breakdancing. There will also be some MC-ing and DJ-ing,” Pickard said.

“We felt that, with the huge popularity of a musical like Hamilton, which is based around hip-hop, now is the time to tap into something that is a very important, popular form of music.”

He added: “It's now quite an old... (music genre). It's no longer the new thing. It's part of our society.”

At a Eurovision event earlier this year the BBC removed European flags from attendees - giving them union flags to wave instead.

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