Socially-distanced seats for 2021 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo to go on sale next week

Groups of just four spectators will be able to sit together when the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo returns next year - under plans to put tickets on sale within days.

The fireworks finale of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Picture: Ian Georgeson

A full three-week run of the show is planned to be held at Edinburgh Castle's esplanade next August - but in a reduced capacity arena.

Social distancing measures are expected to dramatically cut the normal audience of 8800 for each performance, with organisers estimating capacity reduced to 57%, or around 5000 seats. A maximum of eight seats will be available in each booking – but only four ticketholders will be able to sit together.

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Organisers have said they are anticipating “high demand” for the 2021 show when sales open at 10am on Monday.

Around 30,000 tickets have already been snapped up by people who were due to attend this year’s show – the first in the history of the Tattoo to be cancelled - and transferred their booking to the 2021 event.

The Tattoo normally attracts a 220,000-strong sell out every year and is estimated to worth more than £77 million to the economy annually, with the event also generating more than a million pounds for charities each year.

This year’s performance was called off in April, after more than 160,000 tickets had already been sold, with the Tattoo estimating its losses at around £5 million.

In an email to supporters, the Tattoo stated: “We were disappointed to cancel our 70th anniversary show this year; however, we’ve now begun our journey back to the Edinburgh Castle Esplanade and cannot wait to welcome you.

“With your safety in mind we are opening a limited capacity arena for 2021 and anticipate ticket demand will be high, so please make sure to secure your 2021 tickets as soon as you can.

"For the safety of our guests, we are implementing social distancing measures for 2021. To do this, we are opening a reduced capacity arena.

"You can select up to 8 tickets in one transaction, however we have limited 4 seats together within the arena. Our online seating plan is available to help your party find seats close together.”

A Q&A section on the official Tattoo website states: “Be assured that the safety of our audience, staff and cast are of the upmost importance to us and we are considering a range of safety measures for our show.

More than 220,000 people normally attend the Tattoo each year. Picture: Ian Georgeson

"We will constantly review plans in line with government guidelines updates. We will update the venue page of our website with information and communicate with ticket holders via email in advance of the event.”

Major General Buster Howes, the Tattoo’s chief executive, said: “The past few months haven’t been easy for anyone, however we’re now ready to look forward to 2021 and are committed to delivering a safe, thrilling and uplifting spectacle for our audiences.

“We are renowned for our military precision and skill, this has evolved over many years of practice and experience and this rigorous approach has enabled us to navigate the challenges of the last year and to plan for all eventualities in the coming year, ensuring that Tattoo 2021 adheres to all relevant guidelines and is safe for audiences, performers and staff.

“Tickets going on sale mark a turning point for us and in these uncertain times we want the 2021 Tattoo to be a beacon of hope.”

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