The BBC, the U.K. public broadcaster, today (Aug. 15) unveiled a major new live-music event designed to do for rock and pop what the 80-year-old BBC Proms has done for live classical music.

The BBC, the U.K. public broadcaster, today (Aug. 15) unveiled a major new live-music event designed to do for rock and pop what the 80-year-old BBC Proms has done for live classical music.

The BBC Electric Proms, scheduled to take place Oct. 25-29, will take place at the newly refurbished Roundhouse, an iconic north London entertainment venue.

The BBC, which hopes the Electric Proms will become an annual event with the same credibility of the classical Proms, says it is designed to showcase new, unique and exclusive performances from both established and emerging artists.

"The BBC has always promoted what's new and British in rock and pop music on its Radio 1 and Radio 2 stations. And musicians and record labels were always pointing out how important the BBC could be in supporting music in this country," Jenny Abramsky, the BBC's radio director, tells Billboard.biz. "They all knew what we had achieved with classical music; so why not the same with rock and pop."

Abramsky is in charge of the corporation's integrated music-led multi-media strategic, which was unveiled in April.

Among the Electric Prom shows already booked are "Wire & Glass," the new mini opera from legendary rockers the Who. Additionally, there will be a performance by the Good, the Bad and the Queen, the new concept band spearheaded by Damon Albarn, the man behind Blur and Gorillaz. An album is scheduled for a 2007 release by Parlophone.

The Guillemots, an emerging band that has been nominated for the prestigious
Mercury Prize, will unveil a new collaboration with the BBC Concert Orchestra. More acts will be disclosed in August and September.

The 3,300-capacity Roundhouse was famous in the 1960s and 1970s for hosting performances by Pink Floyd, the Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Elton John and the Ramones.

Following a £30 million ($57 million) eight-year refurbishment, the Roundhouse was re-opened on June 1.

The goal is to make the venue the Electric Prom's permanent home in the same way that the Royal Albert Hall has become the classical Prom's annual residence.

In addition to the Roundhouse, additional performances will take place at smaller satellite venues nearby such as the Electric Ballroom, Jazz Café, Barfly and Koko.

The Electric Proms will be supported by transmissions on 13 different BBC radio and TV stations, plus online promotion.

"It's been an idea the BBC has had for a very long time," explains Lorna Clarke, the BBC Electric Proms festival director. "But as soon as the renovation (of the Roundhouse) was completed, and at a time when we have a healthy pop and rock industry, I knew we had to do it right now."