In 2016, following the European Union referendum, a number of prommers were concerned in case the Last Night was hijacked and used as a jingoistic celebration of Brexit. So a group of music lovers crowdfunded a large quantity of EU flags to be waved alongside the Union Jack. We were keen to demonstrate that it is possible to be patriotically British at the same time as maintaining a European and internationalist identity.
The tradition has continued ever since with flags being handed ou in 2018. In 2018 we gave away 20,000 EU flags at the Last Night of the Proms in Hyde Park and the Hall. In 2019 we gave away 40,000 and did so in London, Glasgow, Swansea and Northern Ireland. This is the first time we have done all the events.
We hope that the EU flags will be a timely reminder to the audience, the musicians and those watching the concert all over the world: music is a universal language which unites people, breaks down barriers and promotes communication, understanding and peace.