The 64th Edinburgh Tattoo (2-24 August) is set to be the must-see event of the summer.
Tickets have now sold out for the 24-performance, 3-week run on the Castle Esplanade, where 220,000 visitors are expected to witness a fabulously cosmopolitan programme of music, colour and action.
And with the 2013 military showpiece event set to celebrate themes, ‘The Year of Natural Scotland’ and ‘Our Wonderful World’, twenty-first century technological features such as new state-of-the-art projection and lighting equipment have been installed to help further enhance the Tattoo experience.
Said Tattoo Chief Executive and Producer, Brigadier David Allfrey MBE: “We are hugely excited! The Show contains over 80 different musical numbers and we have some remarkable acts both from the United Kingdom and further afield – some of which are at the Tattoo for their first outing.”
This summer’s production will open in spectacularly dramatic style.
Spilling over the drawbridge of Edinburgh Castle, schoolchildren from Erskine Stewart's Melville College and actors from the Lyceum Youth Theatre simulate a volcanic lava flow. An opening fanfare sounds as Highland pipers, followed by The Band of the Irish Guards, The Band and Bugles of the Rifles, and The Band of the Royal Logistics Corps and Corps of Drums march onto the esplanade.
The heart-stopping sight and sound of some of the very best pipers and drummers from around the world then join proceedings, as the Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland, The 1st Battalion Scots Guards, The 1st Royal Tank Regiment, The 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment, The Wallace Pipes and Drums Malta and The Pipes and Drums of The Royal Guard of Oman take to the arena.
Re-enacting the beginning of time to the tune ‘The Rhythm of Life’ then exhibits the talents of the Tattoo’s 50-strong Highland Dance troupe.
This dazzling opening sequence heralds the approach of Spring, performed by the Republic of Korea Ministry of National Defence Band & Dancers, who will also mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean War. It brings with it the notorious Highland midge portrayed by the Imps Motor Cycle Display Team, a Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo favourite.
The Producer commented: “We are delighted the Ministry of National Defence team are joining us. We have gone to considerable trouble to secure this exotic and world class act. They come from the land of cherry blossom and it is wholly appropriate that they join us in this anniversary year. Their first duty in the United Kingdom will be a commemorative parade at the National Memorial Arboretum and then to Edinburgh to perform for the month of the Tattoo.”
Summer follows with an energetic fiesta of heat from the Monumental Jaguares Marching Band, the Mexican Folk Dance Company Tenochtitlan, and Mariachi Oro de Mexico.
Autumn is celebrated by the New Zealand Army Band paying tribute to Maori Haka. As dusk descends, they are joined by the Locheil Marching Drill Team. The icy blast of winter arrives with the Central Orchestra of the General Staff of the Mongolian Armed Forces.
Brigadier Allfrey said: “The Four Seasons, Night and Day, Life and Death – these perennial cycles govern our lives, our evolution and the extraordinary diversity of our planet. We have been able to match each element with its own character and style. I hope the result will be both entertaining and inspirational. I auditioned the Mongolian contingent in Ulaanbaatar in minus 34 [fahrenheit] earlier this year and I am particularly thrilled that they have come to Scotland! All being well our climate may be a little easier.”
Providing the climax, bands of the Irish Guards, the Royal Logistic Corps and The Rifles join the Massed Military Bands against back projections of indigenous flora and fauna. Concluding this sequence is a Parade of Animals introducing – on selected nights - the participation of life-sized horse puppet Joey from the award-winning production of War Horse.
The finale, with the entire cast assembled, goes stratospheric. With NASA imagery and synchronised fireworks, spectators are launched into the Solar System to acknowledge that our small blue planet is only a tiny participant in a vast and humbling greater scheme of things.
For an instant, Edinburgh Castle basks in a sunset glow as the light gently dims to embrace the Evening Hymn followed by the Lone Piper playing the Scottish soldier's traditional call to the end of the day, this year performing ‘The Reflections of Panmunjom’.
Also, during August, Tornado and Typhoon aircraft from RAF Lossiemouth and Leuchars will open the show on a number of evenings in spectacular style with an impressive flypast.
The Producer remarked: “The Tattoo has an astonishing pedigree. Each year we look to remain authentic to those elements that are ever-important but also we look to stretch and find innovative production techniques and new acts from around the world. We have an astonishing cast and a wonderful musical programme. There is something for everyone! Even those with a singular taste will find magic in the Show. Last year, we were very proud of the accolades that followed the Show and the many letters of thanks and appreciation. This year, I think it is even stronger - one of the greatest shows in the world.”