Explosive return for Battle Proms picnic concert to Hatfield
- Credit: John Andrews
An iconic Supermarine Spitfire dancing in the sky above Hatfield to Elgar's Nimrod.
Explosions aplenty from dozens of cannon in time to the music.
Napoleonic cavalry displays and the British Army's Red Devils dropping in on proceedings.
Flag-waving spectators decked out in Union Jack colours singing along to Last Night of the Proms favourites culminating in a fantastic fireworks finale.
It can only be The Battle Proms, which returned to the grounds of Hatfield House on Saturday afternoon and evening.
After having to cancel the annual picnic concert last summer due to the coronavirus pandemic, Battle Proms made a welcome return to the Hatfield social events calendar – with COVID-19 safety measures in place.
Capacity in the Queen Elizabeth Oak Field at Hatfield House was reduced, and the festival site was expanded to allow for more social distancing of families eating their picnics.
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As the poster said as spectators entered the site: "Keep Calm and a Cannon width apart."
However, revellers partying in the park were still able to enjoy the familiar Battle Proms fare – dynamic displays and sublime classical music performed by the New English Concert Orchestra conducted by Douglas Coombes MBE.
With clear blue skies on a scorching hot afternoon, the Red Devils parachute display team wowed families at the event with their incredible precision freefall demonstration.
The Red Devils posted on its official Twitter and Instagram pages: "We thoroughly enjoyed jumping into @Hatfield_House House yesterday evening!
"Be sure to keep an eye out for us at the next @BattleProms Concerts on the 31st of July!"
The Battle Proms Belles also entertained ticket holders with vintage tunes ahead of the two-hour classical programme, including the apt We'll Meet Again after last year's cancellation.
The concert's main event kicked off, as usual, with the evening gun salute.
A volley of shots heralded the arrival of the majestic Grace Spitfire for a meticulously choreographed aerial display in the skies above the arena.
The evening's music featured an uplifting selection of soul-stirring classical favourites, including the 1812 Overture.
Composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's rousing piece was performed in true Battle Proms style with a thunderous percussion of cannon fire and fireworks.
This only served as a pyrotechnical warm-up to the open-air concert's signature piece in the second half of the programma: Beethoven’s Battle Symphony.
The Battle Proms is still the only place in the world where you can hear this dramatic piece performed as German composer Ludwig van Beethoven intended, with the full complement of 193 cannons, plus musket fire and fireworks, providing a unique and breathtaking musical spectacle.
Hosted by popular BBC presenter Pam Rhodes, the picnic concert finished with a spectacular fireworks finale to accompany Proms favourites such as Rule Britannia.