- In 1949, as part of The Edinburgh International Festival of Music and Drama ‘About a Soldier’ was performed at the Ross Bandstand in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens. The performance was produced by Lieutenant Colonel George Malcolm of Poltalloch.
- The same year, Lieutenant Colonel Malcolm also produced ‘The King’s Men’ on the Edinburgh Castle Esplanade for a standing audience of 2,500.
- Following these two productions, the new Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Sir Andrew Murray extended an invite to the General Officer Commanding the Army in Scotland. Asking him to present a military ‘show’ to be called the Edinburgh Tattoo. Informally, it was agreed that this would take place annually during the Edinburgh International Festival.
- In 1950 the first Edinburgh Tattoo (now The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo) took place. The production included eight items and attracted an audience of 100,000 over its 20 performances.
- Lieutenant Colonel George Malcolm was the first Tattoo Producer.
- Brigadier Alasdair Maclean of The Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders joined Lieutenant Colonel George Malcolm as Director of the first Tattoo.
- Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and HRH Princess Margaret attended the final night of this inaugural production.
- Legendary English conductor and impresario Sir Thomas Beecham conducted the combined military bands.
- Fireworks were first used at the 1950 production. From 1950 onwards the tradition of finale fireworks was born.
- Pipe Major George Stoddart performed as the first Tattoo Lone Piper. Going on to perform as Lone Piper for the next 11 years until 1961.
- Jim Tweedie, a senior architect, was appointed by the City Architect to create the first elevated seating ‘stands’ in 1950.
- Youth took centre stage in the 1951 production. The production included a display of highland dancing by the boys of Queen Victoria School, Dunblane.
- In 1951 the audience increased to 160,000 (7,000 per performance).
- First televised Tattoo performance was produced and broadcast by the BBC. Produced by Aubrey Singer.
- Lieutenant Colonel George Malcolm retired.
- The cost of producing the entire 1951 show was just £200.
- The Tattoo introduced the first overseas performers. The Pipes and Drums of the 1st Canadian Highland Battalion, La Fanfare à Cheval de La Garde Republicaine de Paris (France) and The Koninklijke Militaire Kapel (Royal Netherlands Grenadiers) all performed.
- Following the sudden death of King George VI. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II began her reign.
- Captain Forbes Taylor became Tattoo Producer.
- The 1952 Tattoo showcased the changes in dress of the Scottish regiments over the previous 50 years and was called ‘Scotland in Arms’.
- HRH The Duke of Edinburgh took the salute during the 1952 show.
- In 1953, former Tattoo Director, Brigadier Alasdair Maclean took over as Producer. He produced the Tattoo for 13 years and was instrumental in turning the event into a world-class production. He took over commentary and set about attracting more overseas acts.
- As the 1953 Tattoo coincided with The Queen’s coronation year, Bands that were involved in the Coronation Ceremony also took part in that year’s Tattoo.
- The first women's group performed – The Women’s Royal Army Corps Band and the P.T. Display.
- In 1953, the Tattoo included displays of Highland dancing for the first time.
- As with the 1951 show, the 1954 production put emphasis on youth. 48 Cadets from The Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst gave a drill display, while one hundred boys from ‘B’ company, 1st Regular Training Battalion, The Royal Army Ordnance Corps provided a parade of Toy Soldiers. The show also included a physical training display by the boys of the Army Apprentice School and eighty dancers from six regiments joined up with the boys from Queen Victoria School.
- The Royal Air Force (RAF) Police Dogs performed for the first time in 1954.
- The input from overseas visitors increased and the 1955 show included performers from Ireland, Pakistan, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, Australia and Nepal.
- In 1955 performers were taken abroad for the first time, travelling to Copenhagen.
- The Band of the Federation of Malaya Police performed for the first time in 1956.
- Turkey performed for the first time in 1957. The Corps of Janissaries were joined by cadets from Harp Okulu (Turkish Military Academy).
- The United States Marine Corps performed for the first time in 1958.
- Bryce Laing of Craighall Sound Productions attempted an initial commercial sound recording. In doing so he created the first ten-inch-long playing record of the Tattoo. Laing became involved in recording the sound of the Tattoo for some 40 years to come.
- The 1959 show featured a mounted display by a detachment from the 7th Regiment of Spahis from Senlis, France.
- HRH the Duke of Edinburgh attended the 1960 show.
- During the mid-1960s a number of celebrities visited the show. Among them Douglas Fairbanks Junior, Googie Withers and Canadian actress Yvonne De Carlo.
- In 1960 the Greek Royal Guard performed for the first time.
- Hans Majestet Kongens Garde (His Majesty the King’s Guard of Norway) performed for the first time.
- By 1961 sound recording equipment and expertise had greatly improved and the first twelve-inch stereo LP record was made.
- At the 1961 show, tri-service woman’s groups performed for the first time (the Women’s Royal Naval Service, Women’s Royal Army Corps and the Women’s Royal Air Force).
- At the 1962 Tattoo, the finale bandsmen play Chubby Checker’s ‘Let’s Twist Again’ with mass audience participation on the Esplanade.
- The first group from India, The Sikh Regiment & Indian Cavalry performed.
- The South Eastern Fire Brigade made its Tattoo debut at the 1963 show. The group demonstrated its expertise by rescuing performers from flame engulfed battlements and by holding a competition between fire engine crews.
- The Royal Jordan Arab Army and The Royal Army Medical Corps performed for the first time at the Tattoo.
- The 1964 production included international acts from Brittany and Barbados.
- In 1964, Brigadier Alasdair Maclean took the Pipes and Drums of three Scottish regiments to perform at the Sydney Tattoo.
- The 1965 production included ‘Operation 007: An unusual incident in the life of the Royal Marine Commandos’. A display that included the real world-famous James Bond Aston Martin Car and the Royal Marine Commandos.
- In 1965 Fiji performed for the first time at the Edinburgh Tattoo.
- The Royal Artillery Motor Cycle Display Team performed for the first time in 1966.
- The 1966 show featured a gymnastic display from the Army Physical Training Corps. The team included some of the UK’s top-ranking gymnastics of the time.
- Tom Fleming became the TV voice of the Tattoo. He went on to hold the position for 44 years.
- The theme for the 1967 Tattoo was ‘A historical representation of the military use of horses through the years’.
- The show included international acts from Jamaica and Italy, who performed for the first time.
- Brigadier Jack Sanderson became the Tattoo Producer replacing Brigadier Alasdair Maclean.
- The first vocalist was introduced in 1968. Sergeant Muir, a cook from the Scot’s Guards’ Sergeants’ Mess sang ‘If I Ruled the World’ and ‘Land of Hope and Glory’.
- In 1968 colour television had burst onto the scene and with it, The Edinburgh Military Tattoo (now The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo).
- In 1970, the Tattoo programme cost 2 Shilling (12 pence) before decimalisation occurred in 1971.
- In 1971, the Tattoo was an entirely domestic affair with the exception of the return of the Ghurkhas.
- Decimalisation was introduced and the Tattoo Programme cost 10p.
- In 1972, Hans Majestet Kongens Garde (His Majesty the King’s Guard of Norway) adopted one of the penguins at Edinburgh Zoo – the penguin was named Nils Olav after the Guard’s commander Major Nils Egelien and His Majesty King Olav. In 1972 the penguin held the rank of Lance Corporal; however, each time Hans Majestet Kongens Garde visit Edinburgh the penguin is promoted. Nils Olav now holds the rank of Commander in Chief of the King’s Guard.
- In 1973, The Queen’s Guard, a Drill Team of the Cadet Force of Rutgers University travelled from New Brunswick in New Jersey, United States of America to perform at the show.
- During the 1974 show, the South Eastern Fire Brigade celebrated 150 years of fire fighting and showcased this with firefighting demonstrations during the production.
- In 1975, the old scaffolding stands were replaced with stands built using a new German Construction technique – these new stands were used for the next 36 years.
- Five police bands from Australia took part in the performance. The New South Wales Police Force, Tasmania Police Force, Victoria Police Force, Queensland Police Force and the Western Australia Police.
- In 1976, the Berlin Brigade Drill Team, United States Army performed their debut appearance in the United Kingdom with precision bayonet drill.
- Producer Jack Sanderson was succeeded by Lieutenant Colonel Leslie Dow OBE who became the fifth producer of the Tattoo. He became the ‘voice of the castle’. Each night delivering a soliloquy in verse as the Castle, reminding the audience of the turbulent sights the fortress had seen.
- The Royal Navy Display Team appeared for the first time at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
- HRH The Prince of Wales took time off from his duties onboard the minesweeper HMS Bronington - which was docked at Rosyth - for an impromptu, private visit to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
- Organisers of the Tattoo became involved in producing two other international Tattoos; The Tasmania Tattoo and The Washington Tattoo.
- Her Majesty The Queen celebrated her Silver Jubilee.
- In 1977, Major Brian Leishman joined the Tattoo team as Producer, replacing Lieutenant Colonel Leslie Dow.
- Officer Cadet Elaine Marnoch became the first female Lone Piper in 1977.
- New Zealand’s Lochiel Marching Drill Team performed at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo for the first time.
- At the 1979 Tattoo, the Royal Navy Display Team performed the Window Ladder Display. 32 climbers demonstrated courage, coordination, fitness and strength in a series of coordinated movements on the “skates”, window ladders erected 40 feet above the ground.
- The 1980 production included a dramatic display where a Piper was lowered on to the Esplanade by an RAF helicopter.
- The Royal Band of His Majesty The Sultan of Oman performed for the first time. His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, who came to the throne in 1970, was educated in Britain and qualified at The Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst before serving as an officer with the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles).
- HRH The Princess Royal attended the 1981 show.
- The Tattoo found itself short of performers for the 1982 production due to the Falklands War and enlisted the help of University Pipe Bands.
- In 1982, the Kevock Choir performed for the first time.
- In 1984, the role of Tattoo commentator was shared for the first time. Identical twins, Lieutenant Colonels Stuart and Ian McBain shared the duty.
- The Tattoo took on its first sponsor, The Bank of Scotland.
- During the 1985 Tattoo, musicians from the four Scottish Pipe Bands joined together in two teams to dance “The Argyll Broadswords”.
- The 1985 Tattoo also included displays from The Royal Hong Kong Police Bands.
- Heeresmusikkorps 300 became the first military band from Germany to perform at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in 1986.
- The 1987 Tattoo included a daring display called ‘Fire-Fire-Fire’ performed by the Lothian and Borders Fire Brigade.
- Performers from the State University of Long Beach California, brought sunshine to the 1987 show with a routine called ‘A Latin Festival’.
- In 1988, The Tattoo production was moved forward by two weeks to finish in line with the Bank holiday weekend. Traditionally the Tattoo had stretched performances well into September.
- The 1989 Tattoo included a display of great strength from the Strongest Man in the World (at the time), Dave Gauder.
- The Lord Provost of Edinburgh joined the Edinburgh Military Tattoo Board in 1989. A position that was held for the next 28 years.
- Ever a fan favourite, the RAF Police Dog Demonstration Team performed at the 1990 Tattoo.
- During 1990, audience members spent £19.57 million while in the capital and a further £25 million in the rest of Scotland.
- The 1990 Tattoo Souvenir Programme was A5 size and cost £1.
- The Tattoo stewards’ team were runners up at the 1990 Edinburgh Evening News Charity walk and received an award from Rab C Nesbitt actor, Gregor Fisher.
- Major Gavin Stoddart, son of the Tattoo’s first Lone Piper, George Stoddart, became Director of The Army School of Bagpipe Music and Highland Drumming. Major Gavin Stoddart later went on to follow in his father's footsteps and perform as Tattoo Lone Piper.
- The 1991 Tattoo included the act ‘Fit to Fight’ - an assault course competition to illustrate the vital importance of physical fitness in the military.
- The Dockland Honda Imps (now known as the IMPS Motorcycle Display Team) performed a daring routine called ‘Youth in Action’.
- Lieutenant Colonel Leslie Dow stood down as Tattoo Producer.
- Gas braziers and torchières were introduced for the first time in front of drawbridge and on the Castle ramparts.
- Major Michael Parker became Tattoo Producer in 1992.
- Colonel (Retired) Alasdair Hutton began narrating The Edinburgh Military Tattoo. This was the first time the Tattoo Producer hadn’t done the commentary.
- ‘Highland Cathedral’ one of the world’s most famous pipe pieces was introduced.
- In 1992, the Tattoo Dance Company was formed.
- In 1993, the Tattoo productions evolved to become more theatrical with clear historical themes.
- The 1993 show started with a blazing Viking longboat.
- HRH Princess Anne attended the show.
- 1994 marked a big milestone for the Gordon Highlanders. The year marked their 200th birthday and their last birthday, as they were then amalgamated with the Queen’s Own Highlanders to form the Highlanders.
- The 1994 production celebrated the 500th anniversary of the first distilling of whisky with a comic sketch featuring the illicit bootleggers ‘Brewitt and Leggitt’.
- Brigadier ‘Mel’ Melville Jameson became the Tattoo Producer. With his appointment, Mel Jameson steered the show away from historical themes and moved to a more musical event.
- The Egyptian Military Musical Group from Cairo performed. Led by Drum Major Mohamed, who was known for having an ambidextrous ability of spinning the mace one handed.
- The Tattoo Dance Company performed for the fourth time. At the time the group had 400 members from around Scotland, co-ordinated by Susan Hay.
- 1966 marked the first performance by the United States Army Silent Drill Display Team at the Tattoo.
- In 1996 the Tattoo commemorated the bi-centenary death of Robert Burns.
- The South African Police Zulu drummers performed.
- 1997 marked the Golden Anniversary of Her Majesty The Queen and HRH Prince Philip.
- The Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force Steel Orchestra and Drums made their first appearance at a Tattoo.
- Contemporary Highland dancing was introduced.
- The Tattoo fielded the largest number of pipers and drummers in its history – up to that time.
- Footage from the 1998 performance was used in 1999 film The Debt Collector staring Billy Connolly.
- The Central Band of the Russian Navy performed at the Tattoo. This was the first time Russian participants had been involved.
- The main focus for the 1999 Tattoo was the 200th anniversary of the 93rd Sutherland Highlanders – the Thin Red Line of the Battle of Balaklava 1854.
- 1999 was the first sell-out Tattoo production. Since then, the Tattoo has sold-out every year.
- A new tartan designed by Lieutenant Colonel Peter MacDonald– a leading tartan scholar- was created.
- Major Gavin Stoddart performed as the Lone Piper. Following in the footsteps of his father, George Stoddart who was the first Tattoo Lone Piper in 1950.
- 2000 marked a milestone year for the Tattoo as it celebrated its Golden Jubilee.
- The Tattoo welcomed the Ngati Rangiwewehi Maori Group.
- In 2000, the Tattoo went to New Zealand for the first time with its production ‘Salute to New Zealand’.
- To celebrate the 100th birthday of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, a pre-Tattoo ‘Beating of the Retreat’ was performed with the crowd joining in to sing ‘For she’s a jolly good fellow’.
- The Tattoo programme was resized from A5 to a glossy A4.
- To mark the Golden Jubilee milestone, the Tattoo Jubilee tartan was launched.
- The Tattoo took the show to Wellington for the New Zealand Arts Festival.
- The Cook Island dancers were specially formed for the 2001 Tattoo.
- The Royal Bank of Scotland became official partner. They remained official partner until 2018.
- 2002 celebrated Her Majesty The Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Her Majesty The Queen also attended the 2002 Tattoo.
- Colour changing lights were introduced – with the addition of 95 moving head VL-5 lights.
- 212 lights were used during the show.
- The first edition of the Tattoo magazine ‘Salute’ was produced.
- Top Secret Drum Corps made their debut Tattoo performance.
- 2003 marked the 400th Anniversary of the Union of the Crowns of Scotland and England 1603 – a specially commissioned fanfare was performed.
- Westlife’s Queen of My Heart was arranged and performed by the Combined Massed Military Bands and Massed Pipes and Drums.
- 2004 marked the 60th Anniversary of D-Day.
- The Tattoo began the tradition of having a lead service. The Royal Air Force became the first Tattoo Lead Service in 2004.
- Mini stage performances took place at the Ross Bandstand in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens.
- The Spirit of the Tattoo Visitor Centre opened with a rooftop café, movie theatre and gift shop at 555 Castlehill, Royal Mile.
- The Royal Navy were the 2005 lead service – 2005 also marked 60 years since the end of World War 2 and 200 years since the Battle of Trafalgar.
- Castle projection were introduced for the first time.
- The Highland dancers wore the new Highland Spring tartan.
- A replica of Edinburgh Castle was produced for overseas Tattoos.
- The Tattoo travelled to Australia to put on ’Salute to Australia'.
- Jiangxi kung fu fighters performed at the Tattoo.
- Her Majesty The Queen celebrated her 80th
- HRH Princess Anne became Patron of the Tattoo.
- Sean Connery attended the 2006 show.
- The Kevock Choir performed their last Tattoo.
- Major-General Euan Loudon became Tattoo Producer.
- 2007 marked the Diamond Wedding Anniversary of Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.
- Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force Steel Orchestra and Drums brought limbo dancers to the show.
- Nils Olaf, the penguin at Edinburgh Zoo was knighted on behalf of Hans Majestet Kongens Garde (His Majesty the King’s Guard of Norway).
- 2008 marked the Centenary of the Territorial Army. The Territorial Army was originally established in 1908.
- The Edinburgh Military Tattoo won the award for ‘Scotland’s Best Corporate Hospitality’ at the 2008 Scottish Event Awards.
- The Spirit of the Tattoo visitor centre closed.
- Four smaller ‘Taste of the Tattoo’ events were added to the schedule as part of Scotland’s Homecoming celebrations.
- 2009 marked the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns.
- Christmas TV advert was launched, with voiceover from Sean Connery.
- 60 years of the Tattoo logo was released.
- The Edinburgh Military Tattoo became The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. The Royal title was bestowed by Her Majesty The Queen.
- The Tattoo celebrated its Diamond Jubilee.
- The Tattoo visited Sydney Football Stadium (known as the Allianz Stadium). The 2010 Sydney show theme was ‘Celebrating 60 years Of Valour, Mateship, Glory’.
- A silver-plated replica of Edinburgh Castle was presented to HRH The Princess Royal on 14 July 2010.
- The new logo and brand identity of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo was revealed.
- The new Tattoo stand was erected. The structure included new seats, increasing the venue size by 35%. The total cost of the new stands was £16 million.
- 2011 marked the 150th anniversary of the One O’ Clock Gun.
- Brigadier David Allfrey became Tattoo Producer in 2011.
- At the 2011 show, Edinburgh school children performed as Pictish warriors.
- Senior Drum Major (now retired) WO2 Michael Hay performed for the first time as Drum Major at the Tattoo.
- Up until 2012, the Tattoo had only included fireworks for the final performance. In 2012 fireworks featured after each performance.
- Dennis the Menace and Minnie the Minx characters performed on BMX bikes
- 2012 commemorated the 60th anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation.
- To thank the Tattoo’s Ambassadors’, the Tattoo hosted a dinner at the Edinburgh Conference Centre. HRH Princess Anne attended as the guest of honour. The event was delivered as a mini-Tattoo.
- American actor David Hasselhoff attended the show.
- 2012 marked 10 years of Salute Magazine.
- Joey, the star of National Theatre’s hit show War Horse, appeared in the 2013 Tattoo.
- The 2013 Tattoo theme was ‘Natural Scotland’ tying into Scotland’s ‘Year of Natural Scotland’.
- The Erskine Stewart Melville Junior School Choir performed for the first time as official Tattoo Choir.
- Alasdair Hutton (the Tattoo Storyteller) published his story for children ‘The Tattoo Fox’ – based on a real-life encounter experience by Brigadier David Allfrey.
- 2014 commemorated a centenary since the start of World War 1. The Tattoo crowd held candles (LED) in recognition.
- Hjaltibonhoga (The Shetland Fiddlers) performed for the first time.
- Maori and Zulu warriors performed at the 2014 show.
- The 2014 Tattoo theme was ‘Our Home, Friends and Family’.
- Pipers Trail became the Tattoo’s official Pipe Band.
- Alasdair Hutton published the follow up to his story for children with his second book, ‘The Tattoo Fox Makes New Friends’.
- In 2016 the Tattoo took the show to Melbourne, Australia and Wellington in New Zealand. The show theme was ‘Fanfare for the Future’. The Melbourne show included indoor productions at the Etihad Stadium.
- The projection technology was upgraded.
- Alasdair Hutton celebrated 25 years as Tattoo Storyteller. Since he joined as Storyteller, Alasdair has not missed a single show.
- HRH The Earl of Strathearn and HRH The Duke of Rothesay attended the 2017 show.
- The 2017 Tattoo show theme was ‘A Splash of Tartan’. To tie in with the show theme, the audience was invited to dress in clan clothes.
- The Lord Provost of Edinburgh, The Rt Hon Donald Wilson became Vice Patron.
- 2017 marked Scotland’s ‘Year of Heritage, History and Archaeology’.
- In 2018, the Royal Air Force (RAF) celebrated its 100th birthday. The RAF were also the Tattoo’s 2018 lead service.
- The 2018 Tattoo theme was ‘The Sky’s the Limit.’
- Ex RAF pilot Colin McGregor (Ewan McGregor’s older brother) performed a moving poem ‘High Flight’ – a special tribute to the late servicemen and women of the RAF
- Laser technology was used for the last time.
- ‘The Sky’s the Limit’, the 2018 show theme, was a special celebration of the RAF centenary and Scotland’s ‘Year of Young People’.
- The new Tattoo website was launched.
- Rucelle Soutar moved from her position as Head of Finance at the Tattoo to take on the new role of Chief Operator Officer.
- Following 22 years in position, Production Manager Steve Walsh MBE retired from The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
- The 2019 Tattoo show theme was ‘Kaleidoscope’.
- Senior Drum Major (now retired) WO2 Michael (Mick) Hay performed his last Tattoo. Mick performed as Senior Drum Major, leading the Massed Pipes and Drums for the previous 8 Tattoos. He also retired from his 30-year military career with The Royal Scots. He handed his mace over to his replacement, Senior Drum Major WO2 Allan Campbell.
- 2019 marked the 70th Anniversary of NATO.
- In October, the Tattoo took the show overseas to Sydney, Australia. Performing 4 shows during 17-19 October. The show theme for the Australia production was ‘At All Points of the Compass’.
- The official Tattoo whisky with Glenkinchie was launched. The Limited-Edition Single Malt Scotch was specially selected by both the Tattoo and Glenkinchie teams.
- The production used floor projectors for the first time.
- Susan Lawton, the Tattoo Sales Manager retired following her 39-year career with The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
- The 2020 Tattoo Theme is ‘The Platinum Edition’. Celebrating 70 proud years of the Tattoo.
- The Royal Navy are the 2020 Tattoo lead service.
- 2020 marks Scotland’s ‘Year of Coasts and Waters’.