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The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is an annual series of Military tattoos performed by British Armed Forces, Commonwealth and International military bands and display teams in the Scottish capital Edinburgh. The event takes place annually throughout August, as part of the wider Edinburgh Festival (a collective name for many independent festivals and events in Edinburgh in August).

Now, on average, just over 217,000 people see the Tattoo live on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle each year, and it has sold out in advance for the last decade. 30% of the audience are from Scotland and 35% from the rest of the United Kingdom. The remaining 35% of the audience consists of 70,000 visitors from overseas. Only the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is a bigger part of the Edinburgh Festival, although that consists of over 2000 productions staged across 247 venues.

The current temporary Grandstands on the castle esplanade were first used in 1975 and have a capacity of 8600. New £16 million spectator stands and corporate hospitality boxes are planned to be in place by 2011. The new temporary stands will reduce the time taken to erect and dismantle them to one month, compared to the current six months, allowing the esplanade to host events at other times of the year.

The Tattoo is performed every weekday evening and twice on Saturdays throughout August and has never been cancelled due to inclement weather. The second Saturday night performance includes a Fireworks display, although each performance uses Pyrotechnics and since 2005 has also incorporated a Son et lumière element projected onto the façade of the Castle.

Since 2004, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo has also held free abridged performances at the Ross Bandstand in Princes Street Gardens, entitled "Taste of the Tattoo", and as of 2008 also in George Square in Glasgow. The Edinburgh Military Tattoo has also toured overseas, visiting New Zealand in 2000 as part of the Tattoo's 50th anniversary celebrations. It also visited Australia in 2005 and will return to the Sydney Football Stadium in February 2010 as part of the Tattoo's 60th anniversary celebrations.

The Tattoo is televised in 30 countries and a further 100 million people see the event on television worldwide. In the UK the event is broadcast annually by the BBC, with Tom Fleming commentating every year from 1966 to 2008. Following Fleming's death, commentary for the 2009 broadcast was provided by BBC Radio Scotland presenter Iain Anderson. In Australia the Tattoo is traditionally telecast by ABC on the evening of New Year's Day, although in a break with tradition, the 2006 Tattoo was broadcast two days earlier on 30 December, the 2007 Tattoo was broadcast even earlier on Christmas Eve, and the 2009 Tattoo was broadcast two days after New Year's Eve on 2 January 2010.

The Tattoo is run for charitable causes and over the years has given over £5 million to military and civilian charities and organisations, such as the Army Benevolent Fund. However, the greater benefit has been that it, by independent count, generates an additional £88 million in revenue for Edinburgh's economy annually.

The official magazine of the Edinburgh Military tattoo is called Salute and is distributed free to sponsors, Friends of the Tattoo, and visiting performers.

Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, is the current Patron of the event, with the main corporate sponsor being the Royal Bank of Scotland.

By 2010, its 60th year, it is now called the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo due to HM Queen Elizabeth's awarding of the Royal title in celebration of six decades of this tattoo, one of the world's popular and much awaited military events, as well as Scotland's and Edinburgh's proudest activity in honor of the Scottish personnel and officers of the British Armed Forces and their contribution to the UK's military prestige through the centuries.

Useful Links

>> Edinburgh Military Tattoo on Wikipedia

Tel: +44 0131 225 4783


The Tattoo Office
32 Market Street
Edinburgh, Scotland

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Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Edinburgh Military Tattoo


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