Edinburgh Tattoo back with a bang as it returns after Covid cancellations

The Tattoo makes its highly anticipated return on Friday with this year’s show Voices.

05 August 2022

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is back with a bang as it welcomes back fans for the first time in three years.

The Tattoo, which was last held in the grounds of Edinburgh Castle in 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic saw the event cancelled, will see more than 900 performers wow tens of thousands of visitors over the next month.

Michael Braithwaite, the show’s new creative director, said he could not wait to see what audiences thought of it, as more than 8,000 eager Tattoo fans turned out for the Castle Esplanade on Thursday’s preview night.

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
The Swiss Top Secret Drum Corps during the working rehearsal for this year’s Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo at Redford Barracks, Edinburgh (Jane Barlow/PA)

“This is where it really comes alive, the audience are half the performance. The rehearsals were looking great but having the audience in is going to take it to a whole new level,” he said.

“We’ve got some new contemporary slots in the show, we’re doing some interesting new things with Scottish dancing and also with bagpipes, I don’t want to give too much away, but we’ve got a couple of surprises up our sleeve.

“But also the things that people really expect, the mass pipes and drums coming across the drawbridge, the military bands, the precision drill, it’s a jam-packed programme this year.

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
Members of the Massed Pipes and Drums taking part in the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo at Edinburgh Castle (Jane Barlow/PA)

“The secret is hitting a number of bases. We know what the crowd are expecting but they also expect to be surprised and delighted as well so we’re pretty confident we have got it right based on initial feedback.”

On Friday performers from across the world are set to take part in this year’s show Voices, which creators said has been inspired by people around the globe who, despite being separated, continue to connect and share their voices creatively through spoken word, song, music and dance.

The 2022 show includes performers from Canada, Germany and Australia, alongside other nations and homegrown talent from the UK.

The New Zealand Army Band will make their seventh appearance at the show, and Mexico’s Banda Monumental will storm the stage with more than 100 performers bringing dramatic costume and the bright carnival atmosphere of the country.

The Princess Royal during the working rehearsal for this year’s Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, entitled Voices, at Redford Barracks, Edinburgh
The Princess Royal during the working rehearsal for this year’s Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo (Jane Barlow/PA)

Swiss sensation The Top Secret Drum Corps are also part of the 90 minute show, with their energetic precision drumming which has received global recognition since they first appeared at the Tattoo in 2003, while The United States Army Field Band make their show debut bringing military mash-ups of traditional and contemporary hits.

Buster Howes, chief executive of the Tattoo, said: “I’ve been blown away by the talents on display during rehearsals and I’m confident the audience will be able to feel the electric atmosphere on the Esplanade tonight.”

The show, which runs until August 27, opens with with original composition and vocals from The Highland Divas and ends with a bang as fireworks light up the skyline over the 3,000-year-old fortress.

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
Members of Banda Monumental de Mexico rehearse on Thursday (Jane Barlow/PA)

On Thursday the Princess Royal told participants she was “hugely grateful” to those who had “risen to the challenge” of performing in the annual event.

Speaking to bands, dancers and singers from the “four corners of the world”, Anne said: “It is a great shame we have not been able to do this for the last couple of years.

“I hope you all know what pleasure it gives to so many and the good it does.

“Above all, I hope you enjoyed being part of it, and from my perspective, thank you very much indeed for giving me the time to do this.”

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