What to Expect


What to wear, when to clap, what to do if you're late... all your questions answered!

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.

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 and young people to all LSO concerts, and you can get tickets for £5 for under-18s 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. We also have a programme of events for families at LSO St Luke's, including Storytelling Concerts for Under-5s. 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, or at 7pm on Sundays from September 2015, and the concert hall doors open around 30–40 mins before the start. 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. At the Barbican please go to the Stalls box office on level minus one; at LSO St Luke's please see the staff in the main entrance. The desks open 90 minutes before the performance. We would always recommend booking in advance to make sure you get the seat you want, as some price bands are more popular than others.

Are there standby discounts on the night?

We do not sell tickets for our concerts at the Barbican 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. Concession prices at LSO St Luke's are for over-60s, students and the unemployed, and are advertised if available.

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. At the Barbican the queue usually forms to the right of the box office desk on the Stalls level (level minus one); at LSO St Luke's please queue at the main entrance. 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 Stalls box office desk at the Barbican or main entrance desk at LSO St Luke's as early as you can, bringing your booking reference number with you. The staff will be able to reprint your ticket.

Can I pick up tickets that someone else has purchased?

Yes. If someone has purchased tickets on your behalf and will not be attending the concert to collect them themselves, the box office staff will ask you for some additional information about the booking in the absence of the credit card used – usually the booking reference number and the first line of the address used when booking the tickets.

Can I return or exchange my tickets?

We offer to exchange tickets for credit vouchers or another LSO concert if you can no longer attend. Please see our FAQs page for further details.

Where is 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 G (Ground floor). The Advance Box Office desk in the Silk Street entrance is a good visible place. At LSO St Luke's it's easiest to meet either in the Café downstairs or outside the main entrance.

Do you sell programmes?

Programmes for LSO concerts at the Barbican are free, please help yourself from the refreshment points on the foyers or on the doors as you enter the hall. You can also download and print your own copy of the programme from the Programme notes page and the concert pages on this site. Some concerts at the Barbican and other venues and non-LSO concerts at LSO St Luke's may charge for programmes.

Is there somewhere to leave my suitcase?

The Barbican Centre has a free cloakroom which is located on the Stalls floor (level minus one) – we encourage you to leave large bags or other items here as there's not much space in the hall. Some concerts at LSO St Luke's may provide a cloakroom, but if you have large items to leave please ask to speak to a member of staff.

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

The stewards will allow you into 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. Some concerts at LSO St Luke's may allow drinks from the bar in the Jerwood Hall.

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?

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 much-debated question! 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. It can be helpful 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?

Sometimes artists sign copies of CDs on the foyer in the interval or after the concert – we try to let you know in advance if there is a signing taking place.

Are the bars and restaurants open after the concert?

The Gin Joint at Searcys on Level 2 at the Barbican is open until 10.15pm Monday–Saturday and 10pm on Sundays, and there is usually one bar open on the foyer if you would like to stay for a drink afterwards. It depends on the individual concert at LSO St Luke's as to whether the Café is open after the concert.

Where is good around the Barbican and LSO St Luke's to eat and drink?

You can find some great restaurants and bars nearby, especially in the CityPoint tower near Moorgate tube station, and around Smithfield Market near Barbican tube station. Near LSO St Luke's there are some good restaurants on Old Street and Whitecross Street opposite the building. Not all are open at the weekend, so it's worth checking with individual restaurants beforehand.

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. The arts TV channel Mezzo (subscription, available throughout Europe) films selected concerts each season, and these will be available at a later date on some LSO platforms.

Audience clapping