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The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo takes place every August as part of the wider Edinburgh Festival. In essence it’s a ceremonial entertainment performed by military musicians. Each year has a theme and a 'lead' service from the British Armed Forces. There are also visiting performers -over 46 countries from across six continents have been represented at the Tattoo.
A performance has never been cancelled because of bad weather so dress accordingly! Any profit from the Tattoo goes to charity – military and civilian. To date over £8 million has been raised for good causes.
The Tattoo claims to be the greatest show on earth. It certainly is a fantastic experience. We were so lucky – it was a gorgeous warm night when we were there. Our seats were terrific. Okay so there weren’t cheap as we paid nearly £60 each for them but worth every single penny. An impressive temporary steel structure is constructed every year which turns the Esplanade into a 8.600 seat stadium.
We went in 2012 when the theme for the Tattoo was the Diamond Jubilee and was billed as Scotland's salute to the Monarch. It was certainly a very fitting tribute with a fantastic light show projected on to the Castle façade.
A lot of the show of course was taken up the massed pipes and drums. Seeing them march and the complex formations they perform in the flesh was very impressive. I found the whole thing strangely moving.
The climax of the evening, which was a re-enactment of the Queen’s coronation – for a short time Edinburgh Castle was transformed into Westminister Abbey. And then on to the appearance of the Lone Piper, looking very small on the top of the ramparts. I have to admit I had a huge lump in my throat at this point.
It was just a brilliant evening and I would encourage anyone who gets the chance, to go.
This year the Tattoo takes place 1-23 August and the 2014 theme is ‘Our home, Friends and Family’. Performances on Monday to Friday at start at 9.00pm and on Saturday at 7.30pm and 10.30pm. The 10.30 performance has an extended firework display. There are no performances on Sunday. The performance lasts about 1.5 hours.
Tickets range from £25 to £60 although you need to add £2 per ticket for a Saturday. There is an on-line booking fee of £5 per transaction but you can also book over the phone. There is disabled access but you are advised to contact the Box Office for further details. I would imagine that tackling the approach to the Castle in a wheelchair would be quite difficult.
If you want to push the boat out, there are a number of arena packages which include dinner either at the Amber Restaurant of in the Castle itself. All the details are on the website: http://www.edintattoo.co.uk/
A fuller review appears on ciao under the same user name.
Back in August, we took a little mini break to Scotland a few weeks ago with the main reason being to see the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, for which we had purchased tickets for back in December. This military tattoo is held annually during the busy festival month of August in Edinburgh Castle grounds.
Tickets are not cheap, but neither are they colossal, but it is necessary to book tickets well in advance. We booked our seats at Christmas time, although tickets are not dispatched until the spring. Tickets range from £16 - £50, but when you see the seating plan on the website and the pricing, you can see why there is a vast range of ticket prices. We opted for the south stand in one of the middle blocks, costing us £31 each, plus a £3 booking fee. For those wishing to see the fireworks which happen after the late Saturday performance need to add a further £3 onto each ticket. We went to the earlier Saturday performance.
Military tattoos are not something I was previously familiar with, howver my husband had a desire to go, and I was happy to go as well, probably more so to see Edinburgh itself. However, after having watched the Tattoo, I can honestly say it really is worthwhile buying a ticket for it, even as a family outing.
The performance itself lasts approximately 1hr and a half, with doors opening 45 minutes before a performance. It is essential that you are there early, as there is only ONE way into the castle grounds, and ONE way out, so you can imagine the scene, when 10 000 try to get to their seats. Staff however, are very good at moving the crowd, and ensuring that those who are elderly or disabled are helped to their seating area, rather than fear being knocked down. THere is also a security check as you approach the castle, which can slow things down slightly. Seats in he stands are also jammed pack together, so it is best to go early so you get your seat, without having the entire row trying to get up and let you past.
Whilst the crowd gathered, the commentator entertained us all with stories and introductions to the various guests, as well as asking the crowd where they were from. It was rather amazing the amount of countries that were represented at the event.
THe Tattoo then began with the fanfare celebrating the Diamond Jubilee Year of the Edinburgh Tattoo, followed by the Massed Pipes and Drums, which was quite an amount of musicians, including those from the Royal Scots Dragaon Guards, THe South Australia Police, Swiss Highlanders and each South African Irish.
Following this was music and performance from the Polish Borer Guards, The Gurkhas Band, the Royal Jordanian Armed Forces and the New Zealand Army Bands, the latter of which was a real favourite amongst the crowd, due to their music and their relaxed manner as they broke free from their lines to dance to the music. The other favourites of the evening were the Imps Motorcycle Display Team, with children as young as five riding bikes and carrying out tricks all in front of a live audience. My husband particularly liked the Amry Physical Training Corps whose sheer power and agility was quite amazing.
The finale, as expected, was marvellous as well, with the national anthem, auld lang syne and the last post being played, ending with the Lone Piper.
It is hard to believe just how much practice must go into the performances to make them as professional as they are. There was so much variety to keep even the youngest child amused and entertained and with so much to watch ou couldn't possibly be bored. IT really is an excellent event, and you don;t have to be a fan of military bands to enjoy it. If you plan to be in Scotland next August, you should definitely take the time to watch the Edinburgh Tattoo, worth every penny!!