The Republic of Fiji Military Forces Band performs at the dress rehearsal for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo at ANZ Stadium in Sydney
The Republic of Fiji Military Forces Band performs at the dress rehearsal for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo at ANZ Stadium in Sydney

Largest-ever tattoo in front of Edinburgh Castle – down under!

More than 1,500 international performers gather in a show of cultural unity as the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo marched into Sydney.

Under the lights of the impressive ANZ Stadium and in the shadows of a life-sized Edinburgh Castle replica, the performers taking part in The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo have officially marched out of Sydney following huge plaudits from Australian audiences.

The Tattoo marked its return to Australia in style bringing with it the biggest cast ever in its 69-year history, joining with more than hundreds of performers from home soil in Australia.

Amongst the line-up for the four show extravaganza was 14 nations from across the world, involving military and civilian performers, including Papua New Guinea, France, Cook Islands, Solomon Islands, Switzerland and the UK.

The Republic of Fiji Military Forces Band performs at the dress rehearsal for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo at ANZ Stadium in Sydney

Fittingly, the Tattoo theme for Sydney was ‘At All Points of the Compass’ which was centred around a bold design on the field of play, inspired by Indigenous art and the constellation of the Southern Cross, used by travellers to navigate in the southern hemisphere. Through their colourful performances, each act has taken the audience on a full circle around Australia, honing in on Australia’s place in the world, while celebrating the heritage and traditions of the participating nations.

Organisers have pushed the boundaries with lighting, sound and special effects representing the traditional fireworks associated with the iconic Scotland show, creating an amazing scene around the ANZ Stadium for the 2.5-hour show – the longest ever produced in the Tattoo’s history.

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo chief executive and producer, Brigadier David Allfrey MBE, said: ‘Sydney has been an outstanding City in which to host this landmark Show. Everything about this production has been extraordinary.

Sweden’s Top Secret Drum Corps perform during the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo dress rehearsal

‘This Tattoo has been nearly three years in the planning, it has been designed to place Australia and her heritage at the heart of an extravaganza, with a cast of close to 1,600 and technical support beyond anything we have brought together before.

‘We have been so well supported by the Australian Defence Force – who have helped, amongst so many other things, to gather in all of the Pacific nations cast – and our partners have spared no energy or skill to reach the audience and do the heavy-lifting in the production. Above all, we have been privileged to use one of the world’s most iconic venues and we have been touched by the warm responses from the audiences, many of whom have travelled huge distances to be with us. Thank you, Australia!’

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has provided a range of ceremonial and logistic support to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo including more than 250 cast members, air and ground transport and co-ordination for participating nations.

General Campbell, of the Australian Defence Force, said: ‘The largest ever Tattoo in Sydney presented an international cast of talented performers from around the world. It is a unique celebration of music and military tradition in a colourful display of music, dance and military precision.

Tentara Nasional Indonesian Academy Drum Band performers practice during a dress rehearsal of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

‘Participation in the Tattoo allows Australia to demonstrate the professional skills and high performance of our armed forces. I am delighted that the ADF was once again part of this world-class event.’

The Tattoo made its return to Australia with production partners, Seven West Media and the Michael Cassel Group, as part of its ambitious Strategy for Growth.

Announced in 2018, the ambitious growth programme includes doubling its turnover to £20 million by 2025 as well as additional signposted overseas tours to Canada and China by 2021. Work is already underway with the business in regular conversations with the UK, Scottish and International Governments, local promoters and support networks.

In 2019 The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo will celebrate its 70th year.

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