New guests and old friends as Tattoo reveals programme

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The 2017 edition of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo begins on Friday 4 August and organisers are promising a spectacular celebration featuring new international guests, bands from across the UK and a celebration of Scottish tradition with the event's theme, Splash of Tartan.

The lineup includes the Tattoo's first ever performance from Japan, as well as bands from India, France and the United States, five bands from across the UK's three military services, fiddlers and Vikings from Shetland

As part of Splash of Tartan, the Tattoo has reached out to the Scottish Diaspora and clansmen and women from 57 Scottish clans will feature during the Tattoo's run. 

In total there will be over 1200 performers, including more than 250 pipers and drummers. In addition, the clans will be represented by over 3000 members across the 25 shows, with two or three clans featured at each performance. 

Brigadier David Allfrey, Chief Executive and Producer of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo said: 

Yet again, the Castle Esplanade is set to come alive with colour, music and history as we bring together an extraordinary group of military and folkloric performers to help us ‘Splash the Tartan’.
Each performer, working as an individual, and as part of a mighty team, is supported by world class musical arrangements, leading edge production techniques, digital sound, massive lighting, three million pixels of projection power, stunning fireworks and special effects and... a wonderful sense of common purpose

Details have also emerged of the famous flyovers at selected performances, with military aircraft set to thrill the crowds below at the following performances: 

  • Saturday 5 August, 7.30pm
  • Wednesday 9 August, 9:00pm
  • Friday 11 August, 9:00pm
  • Tuesday 15 August, 9:00pm
  • Wednesday 16 August, 9:00pm
  • Friday 18 August, 9:00pm
  • Friday 25 August, 9:00pm

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The aircraft will add to the already overflowing lineup at this year's Tattoo, including:

Bands and performers from the UK

  • As always, the headline act of the Tattoo will be the Massed Pipes and Drums, delivering their iconic sights and sounds to the rapt audience
  • Shetland Fiddlers, Hjaltibonhoga, accompanied by a squad of Vikings and a longship, The Mirrie Dancer, will celebrate the history of their islands
  • The Tattoo Dance Company will provide 50 fantastic dancers, performing to composer Finlay MacDonald's specially created score
  • Scottish artist, Stref, famous for his work on the Scottish cartoons The Broons, Oor Wullie and the comics The Beano and The Dandy, will use his illustrations to transform the Edinburgh Castle Esplanade into a Highland setting for Ambush in the Glen, a light-hearted take on the Jacobite rebellions featuring The Band of The Royal Regiment of Scotland
  • The other four UK Bands performing include The Massed Bands of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines (made up of the bands of Portsmouth, the Commando Training Centre and Scotland), and the Band of the Royal Air Force Regiment who will perform with the Queen’s Colour Squadron drill squad to celebrate75 years of the RAF Regiment and its links with the Royal Navy 

Admiral Sir Philip Jones, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, said:

The Royal Navy is thrilled to be taking centre stage at this year’s Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
Every day, Scottish-based sailors, submariners and Royal Marines are working at home and around the world to protect and promote the United Kingdom’s place in the world. They are some of the finest ambassadors our country could wish for and a wonderful programme of maritime pageantry and spectacle is in store.

Performers from across the world also feature strongly, and Brigadier Allfrey added:

Each year, we reach out across the world to find the very best acts and bring them to Edinburgh. We are always looking to bring people together to celebrate the rich differences of our global community. There is something for everyone in this Show and an opportunity for all of us to be proud.

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International Guests

  • Making their and their country's first appearance at the Tattoo, the Japan Ground Self-Defence Force Central Band will perform alongside a soloist
  • As part of the celebration of 70 years since India's independence, the Indian Naval Band will team up with dancers from Teamwork Arts and the Tattoo Dance Company
  • Arriving from Naples, the United States Naval Forces Europe Band will bring their own special colour to the Tattoo
  • Celebrating the Auld Alliance, The Fanfare Band of the 9th French Marine Infantry Brigade will visit from their home in Poitiers
  • And for one night only on Friday 4 August, the Principality of Monaco will be represented, with the Orchestre des Carabiniers du Prince au Monaco accompanying guests against a backdrop of yachts and casinos projected onto on the Castle. 

Almost 9000 fans will witness each performance of the show, making for a total of 220,000 across the run, plus over 100 million watching on TV as the Tattoo Splashes the Tartan

Sir Malcolm MacGregor, Convener of the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs, said:

The invitation to participate in The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is a wonderful opportunity for the Scottish Clans and Families. It has generated great interest and excitement throughout the clan network in Scotland and abroad.
Millions of people all over the world are of Scottish descent and are taking even more interest in their ancestry and heritage. Showcasing the clans in all their finery at the Tattoo, will bring added colour and spectacle to such a world class event. Many clans have organised gatherings and events in their traditional lands, in conjunction with their performance at The Tattoo. The whole enterprise has enabled the clans to be active participants in Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.

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Summing up, Brigadier Allfrey added:

Above all, we return easily to our tried and tested strapline: our guests arrive as strangers and leave as friends. This is what we are about. As well as providing a unique stage for the best in class, we offer a fantastic Scottish showcase for a whole month. We are so looking forward to welcoming everyone and sharing our Show. As always, I hope this year will be sensational!

There are still a handful of tickets remaining for the 2017 Tattoo, although the event is expected to continue its amazing run of success with a 19th consecutive sellout. To try and make a last-minute booking, head to the Tattoo's online ticketing portal soon!

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo runs from 4-26 August 2017. More information about the Festival

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