Etymology of the term “Tattoo”
With the establishment of modern barracks and full military bands later in the 18th century, the term “tattoo” was used to describe the last duty call of the day, as well as a ceremonial form of evening entertainment performed by military musicians.
In 1949 Edinburgh held its first Military Tattoo, the modest event was entitled “Something About a Soldier” a the aimed to portray the Army’s support of the International Festival.
The show was held at the Ross Bandstand in Princes Street Gardens which still stands proudly below the castle.
We’d recommend visiting as a good comparison, as now, 7 decades later the show has progressed into the world-renowned showcase we know today.
In 1977 the first female took on the prestigious role of being the lone piper. Officer Elaine Marnoch took the role in her strides as she performed to the full battlements of Edinburgh Castle. Furthermore, in 2016, Scottish solider Lance Bombardier Megan Beveridge made history as the youngest piper to take on the role, aged 21.
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo performance takes place every weekday evening and twice on Saturdays throughout August and has never been cancelled due to adverse weather conditions. (Us Scots aren’t scared of a bit of ‘dreich’ or ‘baltic’ weather)
Make sure to wrap up with plenty layers to stay warm during the performance.
Fit for a Queen
In 2010 HM Queen Elizabeth awarded the event the title of ‘Royal’ to honour the celebration of 60th years running.
Which gives us the title we know it as today, The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
Who’s in the Audience?
The stands at Edinburgh Castle can accommodate a nightly audience of 8,800 people.
This means that throughout the multiple live performances 220,000 people can enjoy the tangible atmosphere of the live show.
In 2018 the Tattoo was televised in 40 countries. This year between 100-300 million people are set to enjoy it worldwide.
Did you know?
The Tattoo benefits several charitable causes. It has been estimated that over £10 million have been donated to arts, military and civilian charitable organisations.
Running alongside Edinburgh’s Festival Fringe the city is at its peak.
The Edinburgh August buzz is not to be missed!