Press release: UK Armed Forces star in global show

Returning for a 68th season, the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is a thrilling display of music, dance, and military entertainment from around the world, rooted firmly in Scottish culture and history. It will take place on the Esplanade of Edinburgh Castle from 4-26 August 2017.

In recognition of this being the Year of the Royal Navy, and Scotland’s unique role in building UK warships, the finale will see the Esplanade transformed into an aircraft carrier flight deck, featuring a Lynx Mk III maritime aircraft, and a CGI projection onto the Castle walls of an aircraft taking off from the deck. As the audience arrives they will also walk under a life-sized model of the new F-35B fighter, with Royal Navy personnel providing a warm welcome too. 

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said:

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo represents all that is best in the UK’s Armed Forces – talented, professional, and engaging internationally with our global allies.

This Tattoo helps showcase our Armed Forces and has raised over £10m through its Charitable Trust, and it contributes £77m a year to the Scottish economy.

Celebrating the theme ‘Splash of Tartan’, these Armed Forces musicians will make up a cast of 1,200 artists performing to a live audience of 220,000, and a global TV audience of more than 100 million.

Performers from 48 countries have taken part in the extravaganza with this year’s top international acts including the United States Naval Forces Europe Band and the Japan Ground Self-Defence Force Central Band. 

Royal Navy involvement

  • The Massed Bands of HM Royal Marines (Portsmouth, Scotland, and Commando Training Centre)
  • There will be a 24 strong Royal Navy Guard of Honour welcoming the audience every night
  • The 90 strong Royal Navy and Royal Marines Tattoo Support Group have taken the lead in making the arrangements for the involvement of the UK Armed Forces this year
  • Type 23 frigate HMS Somerset will berth in Leith for the last week of the Tattoo and host a number of capability demonstrations

Army involvement

  • The Band of The Royal Regiment of Scotland
  • The Pipes and Drums of the 1st Battalion Scots Guards
  • The Pipes and Drums of The Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland
  • A contingent from 154 Regiment Royal Logistics Corps (Army Reserves)
  • Pipes and Drum of the combined Scottish Universities Officer Training Corps

RAF involvement

  • The Royal Air Force Regiment Band
  • Royal Air Force Queen’s Colour Squadron
  • Flypasts by RAF aircraft (weather dependent)

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo facts:

  • The Tattoo was first conceived in 1949 with the 1st performance in 1950
  • 25 performances over August to a live audience of 8,800 each evening – 220,000 across the season  
  • HRH The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, is the Patron of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
  • It has a VIP capacity of 148 each performance (3,700 including nightly salute takers)
  • Now into its 68th season, it has sold out for 18 years consecutively
  • Over 50 countries have taken part
  • The Show has been seen live by more than 14m people over the years
  • Filmed by the BBC in ‘High Definition’ for 59 and 90 minute programmes
  • Peak TV viewing figures of 5.3m in the UK and 100 – 300m globally
  • One of 11 Edinburgh Festivals delivering £280m to the City of Edinburgh and £313m to the national economy