This year’s Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo has been a roaring success after returning from a two year hiatus, with the Army leading a spectacular production of more than 800 performers from around the world.
Staged on the magnificent Edinburgh Castle Esplanade from 5-27 August the theme this year has been ‘Voices’, proving that despite cultural and geographical distances we are all connected through song, music and dance. Acts from Mexico, The United States, Germany, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand along with homegrown talent from the UK have all showcased their extraordinary talents and as ever, UK military acts play a central role in the shows.
With the Army as the lead service this year, audiences have been treated to the legendary sound of the Massed Pipes and Drums, The Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, British Army Bands Colchester and Sandhurst, The Countess of Wessex’s String Orchestra and The Royal Highland Fusiliers with support from many Pipes and Drums bands and other military musicians.
The Edinburgh Tattoo has a long and glorious history, dating all the way back to 1949 when as part of The Edinburgh International Festival of Music and Drama, a piece called 'Something About a Soldier' was performed at the Ross Bandstand in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens. It was soon followed by a production of ‘The King’s Men’ on the Edinburgh Castle Esplanade for a standing audience of 2,500. The Provost of Edinburgh, Sir Andrew Murray, asked the General Officer Commanding the Army in Scotland to present a military ‘show’ to be called the Edinburgh Tattoo and in 1950 the first Edinburgh Tattoo was born. The production included eight acts and attracted an audience of 100,000 visitors.
The Tattoo has had some notable firsts - in 1953, to celebrate the coronation of Her Majesty The Queen, the military bands that had taken part in the coronation also participated in the Tattoo and in 1968 was broadcast on the television in colour for the first time. And this year two sets of brothers, including identical twins from The Royal Regiment of Scotland, are leading the Pipes and Drums marking a historical moment for the regiment. The Muir twins are Pipe Major and Drum Major of the 3rd Battalion and the Grant brothers are Pipe Major and Drum Major of the 4th Battalion.
Due to the pandemic the Tattoo was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 but this year it has returned bigger and better than ever and there can be no better place to celebrate the remarkable history and wealth of military music from around the globe.