David Allfrey: One of the greatest shows on Earth

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Picture: TSPL

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Picture: TSPL

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EDINBURGH Military Tattoo is back for another year and you don’t want to miss it, writes David Allfrey

Edinburgh Castle, set high on an extinct volcano, has been a powerful symbol in Scotland’s history for over 1,000 years. Today, it is recognised around the world as home to The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. The show returns in just three weeks’ time.

We have come a long way since the first show in 1950. The Tattoo has grown to become one of the longest-running and most successful military and cultural extravaganzas in the world. We play to an audience of 220,000 across 25 performances every August. The event is always based in Edinburgh but also tours every second year. So far over 14 million visitors – drawn from over 90 countries – have seen the show live, with hundreds of millions catching the show on television across the world. For many (both audience and cast), attending the show is a once in a lifetime opportunity and a principal reason for visiting the UK. The Tattoo is so much more than a military spectacle; it’s a unique opportunity to bring together a wide variety of people in a single moment of celebration. We tellour audience: “You may arrive as strangers but you will depart as friends”.

Each year, the Tattoo contributes an estimated £77 million into the Scottish economy and a further £30m in full-time employment equivalence. The worth is felt in Defence, in relationships with other countries, in trade and investment, in tourism and in the exchanges of culture, heritage and the Arts.

We travel widely in search of the best acts and have a tremendous time bringing the various elements together. In designing the show, we strive to be true to values and standards developed over many years but presented in an innovative way. The Tattoo has something for all ages. We are quite simply, one of the greatest shows on earth!

• Brigadier David Allfrey is chief executive and producer of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, which runs 5- 27 August, www.edintattoo.co.uk

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