From its early days, the Edinburgh Tattoo, set against the world famous backdrop of Edinburgh Castle, has been an international favourite, and in 2009 celebrates its 60th season. It’s appropriate that it also coincides with the 250th anniversary of the birth of Scotland’s national bard, Robert Burns.
Over the years, performers from over 40 countries have entertained a festival influx of 200,000 visitors, with travellers from overseas making up to 35 percent of the audience. In addition, the Tattoo is televised in over 30 countries, with audiences reaching 100 million.
But there’s no substitute for being there! This is a show you don’t simply watch – you become part of it. The commentator – the Voice of the Castle – draws the audience together; crowds cheer individually for their countries but inevitably come together as one, part of an international fraternity. French shake hands with English, Japanese nod smilingly to Swedish neighbours, native Scots welcome Italians, New Zealanders embrace Australians. It’s a family affair.
From high in the stands you’ll see massed bands march out in their regimented hundreds across the old drawbridge, flanked by effigies of William Wallace and Robert The Bruce. Emotions run high: this matchless spectacle unfailingly enthralls, symbolising the Scotland that everyone holds dear in their heart. The lilting tunes are echoes of a glorious and often tragic past, of freedom and glory and of suffering and loss.
Every Edinburgh Tattoo begins with this vivid and intensely emotional display, and may it always be so, for these are Scotland’s finest fighting men (pipers and drummers are soldiers first, musicians second) playing the stirring tunes that, over centuries, have given courage and inspiration on battlefields in every corner of the globe.
The show is always fresh, exciting and vibrant, even for the many faithful fans. Above all else, there’s the awesome presence of the Castle – great flaring torches lighting its venerable walls and creating mysterious shadow plays on the honey coloured stone.
In 2010 the festival will be coming closer to our shores, as its being held across the Tasman in at the Sydney Football Stadium. So start planning now if you want to be a part of it. In 60 years the world’s most famous Tattoo has left Edinburgh only twice. “I can think of no better way of kicking off our diamond jubilee year in 2010 by returning to the city and country which opened their hearts to us so warmly when we visited Sydney last time-round,” said Major General Loudon. Titled “The Edinburgh Military Tattoo – Celebrating 60 Years of Valour, Mateship and Glory,” the event will take as its central theme the close relationship between Australian and British Defence Forces who have fought alongside each other in numerous conflicts.
The show, staged against the remarkable million dollar replica of Edinburgh Castle, will be even bigger than last time with an extra “theatrical flourish”, developed under the Tattoo’s new Chief Executive and Producer, Major General Euan Loudon. Performance dates and times will be announced later this year, along with details of the bands and highland groups appearing. However, it is confirmed that the wildly popular Top Secret Drum Corps from Basel in Switzerland will be back with an even more dazzling routine.
“The Edinburgh Military Tattoo attracts the world’s best massed pipes and drums. Australians will see the biggest and best Tattoo ever staged, right here in Sydney” says Creative Director, Leo Schofield.
More information at www.edintattoo.co.uk