The annual Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo attracts talent and audiences from around the world to the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle in the Scottish capital. It began modestly in 1949 with only three performances: one Scottish and two U.K. military regiments. This year, the Aug. 2-24 festival will be seen by about 217,000 visitors and over 100 million TV viewers. Highlights include performances from Mongolia, Korea, Malta, Mexico, Oman, and New Zealand, along with traditional favorites, including the Pipes and Drums of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, The Scots Guards, The Royal Irish Regiment and The Royal Tank Regiment and the Band and Bugles of The Rifles.
Fun facts about the Tattoo
- The first commercial twelve inch stereo LP record of the Tattoo was released in 1961.
- The event was first seen in color on TV in 1968.
- The first overseas regiment to participate was the Band of the Royal Netherlands Grenadiers. The year was 1952, and there were also performers from Canada and France.
- Hollywood movie producer Mike Todd, the fourth husband of film star Elizabeth Taylor, made a documentary program on the Tattoo in 1950.
- Not a single performance of the Tattoo has ever been cancelled.
- The Tattoo is set up and run for charitable purposes. Over the years, it has gifted some 5 million pounds ($7.6 million) to service and civilian organisations.
- At the last official independent count, visitors to the Tattoo contributed an estimated 88 million pounds ($134 million) to the Scottish economy.
- The word ‘tattoo’ comes from the closing-time cry in the inns in the Low Countries during the 17th and 18th centuries – ‘Doe den tap toe’ (‘Turn off the taps’).