The Big One: BBC Electric Proms

Various, London and Liverpool, 22-26 October

The Big One: BBC Electric Proms

Photographer: Ross PurdieDaniel Fahey on 20 October 2008

What is it?
Don't be fooled by the name, these aren't the type of proms where your teacher confiscates your booze and your best mate tongues your date - it's much more sophisticated than that. Put on by the Beeb the festival is a series of gigs that gives bands complete artistic freedom and encourages them to try something original, with the likes of Winehouse and Weller teaming up in the past.

When and where?
For the first time in the festival's history the Proms will run over two cities as London and Liverpool share the hosting duties. Taking in several venues around both, the festival will run for five days from this Wednesday (22-26 October).

Three to watch

Africa Express – Koko, Camden – 22 October
The highly acclaimed African-indie collaboration series returns with Johnny Marr, Foals and more, who will join some of Africa's biggest names onstage for a night of covers and unique performances. This, as usual, will be very special.

The Streets – Roundhouse, London – 23 October
Urban poet Mike Skinner will be joined by The Heritage Orchestra and a gospel choir to expand his observant and witty repertoire into modern ethereal masterpieces.

Saturday Night Fever - Roundhouse, London - 25 October
Celebrating 30 years of Saturday Night Fever hitting number one, the Proms has gathered some classic pop stars to sing some disco classics. Ronan Keating, Stephen Gately, Sam Sparro and more will don their flares and afros to do some 'Jive Talkin'' with The Bee Gees' Robin Gibb and the BBC Concert Orchestra.

One to miss

Tony Christie

A career rejuvenated entirely by a Peter Kay charity single is not reason enough for the revival of this crooner. If you're not in a cardie and slippers and you don't refer to World War One as the Great War, don't fund the façade.

Playing a rare festival date

Burt Bacharach

Burt Bacharach is a bona fide musical legend with a back catalogue bigger than Littlewoods and Argos combined - even Proms headliners Oasis have admitted from borrowing heavily from one of his tracks. It's the first time the singer-songwriter has played a UK festival and at the ripe age of 80, there may not be many chances left to see him.

Inside tip

– Barfly, London – 25 October
Elementary and experimental pop fronted by London MC Mica Levi. The trio of youngsters combined age wouldn't even get them a bus pass, but their delectable chart fodder is likely to be the staple of 2009.

Be at Electric Proms if you like…
Surprise collaborations and a different take on some of your favourite songs.

Avoid if you hate…
Not being able to spot yourself on the television highlights.

Festival tactics

Make it to the venue early enough to watch the support because you never know what you might miss.

Fashionsta or folky?
Neither particularly, you're more likely to bump into an Oasis fan who's still trying to convince anyone/thing that Blur were crap.  

Alcohol of choice
Alcopops for The Streets, lager at Oasis and a gin and slim at Saturday Night Fever – it's different booze for different bands.

Take your mum score
10/10 – Inside venues to shelter her from the rain, a nice early finish so she can get back for Woman's Hour on Radio 4, full on orchestras and acts she's still got on vinyl - it couldn’t be more apt for the old dear.

Can I still get tickets?
Yes, for certain shows, but those wishing to go must register to be put into a ballot to win tickets. Tickets then cost around £5 per show. Click HERE for more details.

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