Audience before a concert

Audience before a concert

What to expect

Ever wondered what to wear, when to clap, when to arrive? What to do if you're late, or whether you can leave your suitcase somewhere? You're not alone!

We want you to have a great evening with us, relax and enjoy the music, so here's answers to a few questions you might have. And if your question isn't answered below, you can always ask us via the live chat feature at the bottom of the page!


Is there a dress code?

No, we don't have a dress code, other than for the people on stage! Please come as you feel comfortable – jeans and trainers are perfectly acceptable, but if you would like to dress more smartly, please do.

Can I bring my children?

We welcome children to all LSO concerts, and you can get tickets for £4 for under-16s for concerts at the Barbican. If your children are under 12 you might prefer to bring them to one of our Family Concerts, which take place once a term at the Barbican, or to a Family Saturday Morning or Early Years concert at LSO St Luke's. These events are designed specially for children, and are much more informal, shorter in length and usually have some element of participation.

What time do the doors open?

The majority of LSO concerts begin at 7.30pm, which means that doors open at around 7pm. The bars, cafes and restaurants will be open beforehand for you to come early for dinner or to meet friends. Please check the start time of your concert – some start earlier or later, especially at LSO St Luke's.

Can I buy a ticket on the door?

For all but a few concerts there are usually tickets available to buy on the door. The box office opens 90 minutes before the performance. We would always recommend booking in advance to make sure you get the seat you want though, as some prices do sell out.

Are there standby discounts on the night?

We do not sell tickets at a discount on the night, unless advertised as such. There are no standard concessions for LSO concerts as we feel our ticket prices are affordable for everyone.

Can I queue for returns if a concert is sold out?

Yes you can come and queue at the box office, where we will sell any returned tickets on a 'first come, first served' basis. The queue usually forms to the right of the box office desk on the Stalls level. We do not sell returns at discounted prices.

What happens if I have lost my ticket?

If you have lost your ticket or it has not arrived in the post, please come along to the box office desk as early as you can, bringing your booking reference number with you. The staff will be able to reprint your ticket.

Where's best to arrange to meet my friends?

Mobile phone reception can be patchy in the Barbican Centre, so we suggest arranging to meet on Level 0 (Ground floor). The Advance Box Office desk in the Silk Street entrance is a good visible place.

Do you sell programmes?

Programmes for LSO concerts at the Barbican are free, please help yourself. You can also download and print your own copy of the programme from the Programmes page and the concert pages on this site.

Is there somewhere to leave my suitcase?

The Barbican Centre has a free cloakroom which is located on the Stalls floor (level -1) – we encourage you to leave large bags or other items here as there's not much space in the hall.

Will I be allowed into the concert if I'm late?

The Barbican Hosts will allow you in to the concert in a suitable break in the programme, for example the end of a movement or after the overture, so that other audience members are not disturbed. On some occasions there aren't any suitable breaks, so we ask that people remain outside the hall until the interval - there are screens on which you can watch the concert if this is the case.

What if my friends are late?

If you arrive on time but your friends are late we suggest that you go into the concert and leave their ticket for them to collect from the box office when they arrive. The box office remains open until the interval.

Can I bring my drink into the Hall?

At the Barbican we ask that people don't do this, as it can be distracting for others around you. Water in bottles is allowed. For UBS Soundscapes: Eclectica concerts at LSO St Luke's we encourage you to bring your drinks in.

Can I take photos?

We ask that you don't take photos of the Orchestra or musicians during the music, since this can be distracting to them and other audience members, especially if the flash goes off! We also ask you politely not to make audio or video recordings of the music as this is illegal, even if it is just for your own enjoyment.

How long is the interval?

Most concerts have 20 minute intervals, but there may be a few with shorter, longer or none at all.

Are the queues for the toilets really long?

Actually the Barbican is not too bad on this front - there are plenty of toilets available, but inevitably the Ladies' toilet does have a queue!

When should I clap?

A well-debated question this one! It is traditional in the UK to clap at the end of a piece of music, as opposed to after each movement (eg in a symphony or concerto). This is to help the music flow smoothly, or to set the scene for the following movement. Your programme should give you a clue as to how many movements there are. But often it's not so clear cut! What we suggest is to look at the conductor, who will usually provide a signal that the piece has ended, or to follow others in the audience. We do of course love it when people express their delight at our performance, but if you feel uncomfortable and unsure about when to clap, it's generally best to wait for others to start...

Can I get the soloist's or conductor's autographs?

It usually depends on the soloist or conductor - some will, some won't. If you would like to have a try, the stage door is located down the stairs by door 4 of the Stalls. Please speak to the security officer on the door. Sometimes artists sign copies of CDs at the foyer shop, Muse - we try to let you know in advance if there is a signing taking place.

Are the bars and restaurants open after the concert?

Searcys on Level 3 at the Barbican is open until 10.30pm (except on Sundays, when it's not open at all!), and there is usually one bar open on the foyer if you would like to stay for a drink afterwards.

Where's good around the Barbican to eat and drink?

The Barbican has a reputation for being in the middle of nowhere, which of course is not true! You can find some great restaurants and bars nearby, especially in the CityPoint tower near Moorgate station, and around Smithfield Market near Barbican station. Near LSO St Luke's there are some good restaurants on Old Street and Whitecross Street opposite the building.

Do you record or video concerts, and can I buy a copy?

Our record label LSO Live records selected concerts at the Barbican, which are then available to buy on CD and download. You will see this mentioned in the concert programme. Some concerts are recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 3, which we will also state in the programme. At the moment we are not making DVDs or video recordings of our concerts. Occasionally BBC Four will record a concert for TV broadcast, and we will let you know if this is the case.

Event Calendar

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