Edinburgh Tattoo back with a bang as it returns after Covid cancellations

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is back with a bang, welcoming fans back for the first time in three years.

he Tattoo, which last took place in the grounds of Edinburgh Castle in 2019 before the event was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will delight more than 900 artists and delight tens of thousands of visitors over the next month.

Michael Braithwaite, the show’s new creative director, said he couldn’t wait to see what audiences thought as more than 8,000 eager tattoo fans descended on the Castle Esplanade for Thursday night’s performance.


The Swiss Top Secret Drum Corps during rehearsal for this year’s Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo at Redford Barracks, Edinburgh (Jane Barlow/PA)

“It really comes alive here, the audience is half the performance. The rehearsals looked great, but having the audience there will take it to a whole new level,” he said.

“We’ve got some new contemporary slots on the show, we’re doing some interesting new things with Scottish dancing and also with bagpipes, I don’t want to give too much away but we have a few surprises up our sleeve.

“But also the things that people really expect, the mass whistles and drums coming over the drawbridge, the military bands, the precision drill, it’s a packed program this year.


Members of the Massed Pipes and Drums take part in the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo at Edinburgh Castle (Jane Barlow/PA)

“The secret lies in hitting a series of bases. We know what the crowd is expecting, but they also expect to be surprised and excited, so based on the initial feedback we’re pretty confident we got it right.”

On Friday, artists from around the world will join this year’s show Voices, which the creators say was inspired by people around the world who, despite their separation, continue to connect and creatively share their voices through spoken word, song and music and dance.

The 2022 show features artists from Canada, Germany and Australia, as well as other nations and native talent from the UK.

The New Zealand Army Band will make their seventh appearance at the show, and Mexico’s Banda Monumental will take the stage with more than 100 performers bringing dramatic costumes and the country’s bright carnival atmosphere.


The Princess Royal during work rehearsal for this year’s Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo (Jane Barlow/PA)

Swiss sensation The Top Secret Drum Corps is also part of the 90-minute show with their high-energy, precision drumming that has garnered global acclaim since their first appearance at Tattoo in 2003, while the United States Army Field Band makes their show debut with military mash – Ups of traditional and contemporary hits.

Buster Howes, Managing Director of the Tattoo, said: “I was blown away by the talent that was showcased during rehearsals and I am confident that the audience will be able to feel the electric atmosphere on the Esplanade tonight.”

The show, which runs through August 27, begins with an original composition and vocals by The Highland Divas and ends with a bang as fireworks illuminate the skyline above the 3,000-year-old fortress.


Members of the Banda Monumental de Mexico rehearse Thursday (Jane Barlow/PA)

On Thursday, the Princess Royal told attendees she was “very grateful” to those who “rose for the challenge” of performing at the annual event.

Speaking to bands, dancers and singers from the ‘four corners of the world’, Anne said: ‘It’s a great shame that we haven’t been able to do this in recent years.

“I hope you all know the joy it brings to so many and the good it does.

“Most of all, I hope you enjoyed being part of it and from my point of view, thank you very much for giving me the time to do so.” Edinburgh Tattoo back with a bang as it returns after Covid cancellations

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