Looking forward to an action-packed August with the Tattoo
24 March 2023
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo has called Edinburgh Castle home since its inception in 1950, but how did it begin? We look back on the origins of the unique show and look ahead to the 2023 Tattoo.
In the beginning…
Following the Second World War, economic austerity had hit Great Britain, and many were seeking means to boost morale. The Edinburgh International Festival kick-started in 1947 with an aim to ‘provide a platform for the flowering of human spirit’.
Two years later, as part of this festival, Lieutenant Colonel George Malcolm of Poltalloch produced the performance ‘Something About A Soldier’ at the Ross Bandstand in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens. The same year, Malcolm would go on to produce ‘The King’s Men’ on the Edinburgh Castle Esplanade for a standing audience of 2,500.
The Lord Provost of Edinburgh at that time, Sir Andrew Murray, was taken with these performances and as result extended an invitation to the General Officer Commanding the Army in Scotland asking him to present a military ‘show’ to be called the Edinburgh Tattoo.
Still going strong
7 decades later the Tattoo is still going strong and is proud to call the Edinburgh Castle Esplanade its home.
The show remains a pinnacle of military music and Scottish tradition. It’s famous for the Massed Pipes and Drums, military marching bands, Highland dancers and Lone Piper performing from the castle ramparts. But it also adds a contemporary twist, incorporating cutting-edge production technology as well as cultural acts from around the world to create a feast for the senses.
In addition to world-class musicianship, the Tattoo uses state-of-the-art projections to light up the castle’s façade, extending the show’s story onto the castle’s walls. In 2022, the Tattoo innovated further with new sound systems and intricate soundscapes to fully immerse audiences in the experience.
Getting ready for the 2023 Tattoo
From May onwards, custom-built stands are erected on the Castle Esplanade. It’s made up of 6,799 pieces of steelwork, 33,000 bolts, and 56km of cable. The unique arena sits high above Edinburgh’s skyline and seats 8,825 visitors each night during the Tattoo’s August run.
For 2023, the Tattoo has announced its show theme: Stories.
From 4-26 August, cast and crew, with the support of The Royal Air Force, will take audience members on a musical journey. With evening and matinee performances throughout their run, the Tattoo offers a great evening for all. You can secure your tickets for their 2023 show now.
Make your 2023 Tattoo experience extra special
Make your 2023 Tattoo experience extra special by following in the footsteps of royalty with the castle hospitality package!
Working with the Edinburgh Tattoo, we’ve created an exclusive hospitality experience to enjoy before the 2023 Tattoo event. Situated within the castle walls, this hospitality package includes welcome drinks on arrival and a three-course Scottish dining experience. There’s a traditional ‘toast to a haggis’, plus a recital by members of the Tattoo’s Stories cast. Guests can also get a glimpse backstage at performers warming up before showtime.
In 2022, 93% of Tattoo audience members who attended one of our Tattoo Castle packages rated the experience as excellent.
The Tattoo also offers a wide range of additional hospitality packages from whisky cocktails and canapés to light dining experiences.
Want to find out more about the 2023 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo? There’s answers to the most frequently asked questions over on the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo website.