Tattoo chief vows to shed his ‘tartan and shortbread’ image as 2022 return plans revealed

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo has been held at Edinburgh Castle since 1950. Photo: Ian Georgeson

Major General Buster Howes, who was appointed general manager last year, has revealed his intention to light up the castle plaza for the first time and deploy cutting-edge digital mapping technology to transform the look of the Edinburgh Castle during each performance.

He said the Tattoo’s planned return next August after a two-year hiatus imposed by the pandemic would mark “a new era” for the event, which has been taking place on the Edinburgh Castle Esplanade since 1950.

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A more dramatic start and end to the show is promised as part of an overhaul that is expected to allow more emerging Scottish musicians to perform.

Drum Major George Blair and dancer Louise Barton doze off before the first 2022 tattoo tickets go on sale next month: Photo: Duncan McGlynn

The new direction of the Tattoo – planned under the banner of “Performance in a New Light” aims to upset the “staid” image of the event and attract more people on a regular basis.

However, the show is expected to be nearly half an hour shorter than in recent years and will feature shorter sequences when it returns in 2022.

Major General Howes also pledged that the tattoo aims to become a ‘net zero’ event by 2030 or earlier.

The first tickets are expected to go on sale next month, while a new membership program launched today that will allow fans to secure priority reservations before a full public sale opens.

The 2020 tattoo was canceled weeks after the start of the Covid crisis in the UK, along with other Edinburgh summer festivals. It was due to make its return in August, but was again canceled due to a lack of certainty over the Covid restrictions that would still be in place.

When the call was announced in May, the UK government was accused of refusing to underwrite the potential cost of a last-minute cancellation. The Scottish Government was prepared to allow it to move forward with reduced capacity, but work on its bleachers normally begins in May.

Major General Howes said: “Although the plaza is dark, we set out to reinvigorate who and what we are, and to develop a fresh, bold and vibrant brand that will provide an even more exciting event for our audience.

“While preserving what makes the tattoo iconic and unique, we will be increasingly innovative with the show, we are investing more in its production and have recruited new board members and world-class nominations to the show. our management team to imaginatively enable these exciting developments. . “

Peter Lederer, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Tattoo, said the event aimed to take a “bold and refreshed approach” as he anticipated his return.

He added, “I am very proud of the resilience and creativity shown by the entire team as we bounce back from the challenges of the pandemic and help play our part in the recovery of the live events industry. at large.

“The increased investment in production and improvements to both the senior team and the board of directors, underpin an increasingly innovative and creative philosophy, which will surely find expression in a show that will surprise and will delight both established and new audiences in 2022 and beyond. “

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