17 August 2011

Military Tattoo

Absolutely beautiful sunset at the
Tattoo's beginning.
Perhaps the biggest draw to the Fringe Festival is the Military Tattoo. Millions of people gather every August to watch the different military bands play. In the past 10 years there hasn't been one night that was not sold out beforehand. Let's put that into perspective -- the stands can hold 8,600 people, so that means that about 217,000 people see the Tattoo every August.

By the way, it is called a 'Tattoo' from the days when the British army was stationed in Low Countries during the 17th Century. Each evening the drummers would play as a signal for when the soldiers should leave the inns and return to their barracks. This practice was known as "doe den tap toe" - which is Dutch for "turn the tap off." Over the years, this whole ordeal became more of a show, and thus the Military Tatoo was born. (Thank you, Wikipedia.)
The Scottish band starting the night off right.
Held in the Castle Esplanade, the event is a pretty great one.The Castle serves as a backdrop to the event, complete with a flyover and fireworks. There are images projected onto the facade of the Castle, so it's a pretty amazing visual event. I especially appreciated that the bands were from so many different areas, like Brazil, The Netherlands, South Africa, Canada, Bavaria....it made the event much more fun. I particularly enjoyed the Dutch band, who came riding in on bikes - I can't even imagine having to play the tuba while trying not to fall.
Somewhere Over The Rainbow by the Brazilian band
All in all, it was a very cool event. Although it was a bit pricey, I felt that it was perfectly worth it. There were plenty of bagpipes, so it was nice and Scottish-y. For anyone coming to the Fringe, I would totally recommend it.
Gingerbread Castle?
Some highlights include...
1.) The beautiful sunset behind the Castle as the Tattoo began.
2.) The Dutch band that came out on bikes - particularly when they played Loch Lomond.
3.) The fireworks!
4.) The many, many bagpipers -- especially the Lone Bagpiper, which is a tribute to the troops.
5.) The Harry Potter interlude.
6.) The tribute to the fishing industry in Scotland. Who doesn't love ribbon dancing in satin overalls next to a bucket of fish?
7.) The rousing rendition of Auld Lang Syne! So appropriate.
Scotland Castle, Part II

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