The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Edinburgh Military Tattoo
Edinburgh Military Tattoo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tickets are already on sale for the spectacular Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in August this year. It’s definitely a highlight in our Sleigh calendar each year, and so our blog this week introduces a little bit of its history (and there’s also a link below where you can buy tickets!)

Strangely, the word “tattoo” comes from the Dutch “tap toe” meaning “last orders”. The word “tattoo” started to come into use by the British army in the 1740s when pipes and drums would play to signal the taverns to close and the soldiers to retire to bed. Later that century, the word became used to describe the evening entertainment performed in the barracks by military musicians.

The first official Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo was performed in 1950, although a smaller show of just eight acts had taken place the year before. In the first two years, seating around Edinburgh Castle accommodated around 6000 spectators, and today this number has since grown to almost 8600 (although so many watch outside the stadium on large screens that the estimated size of the audience is almost 218,000!). The event is also televised around the world, drawing in over 100 million viewers.

The Tattoo has proved so popular that since 2004 smaller performances called “Taste of the Tattoo” have been freely available in Edinburgh’s Princes’ Street Gardens and are now being performed in Glasgow as well. The military musicians now also tour the world, and visited Sydney in 2010 as part on the 60th anniversary celebrations.

Edinburgh Tattoo
(Military Tattoo 2007. Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Tattoo has become an extraordinary exhibit of international musicians, as performers from over 30 countries have taken part over the years. Each year celebrates a different theme or event, and in 2015 we can look forward to an “East Meets West” themed display of dancing, fireworks and music.

We recommend that you book early if you want to join the festivities! (Click on the link below to book)

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