For the first time in its 66-year history, the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is set to wow Australian audiences in the heart of multicultural Melbourne. Over a thousand singers, dancers, musicians and pipers from around the world will take to the stage at Etihad Stadium in February 2016, but instead of goal posts, the scene will be set with an inspiring life-size model of the ancient Edinburgh Castle facade – the traditional site for this world-class spectacle.
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An affair usually sacred to Scotland’s capital which draws crowds from across the globe year after year, previously there have only been a handful of travelling tours that have seen the Tattoo take place outside of Scotland. The last show to hit Aussie shores was in 2010 as part of the 60th anniversary celebrations and before that, in 2005, with both events being held in Sydney. The 2016 event will be the first time Melbourne plays host to the colourful and rhythmic meeting of military bands.
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There will be four shows in Melbourne, from February 12 to 14, before it moves on to Wellington a week later. The grand debut however will of course take place at Edinburgh Castle in August 2015. Every year the Tattoo takes on a brand new theme and this year the 'East Meets West' theme draws on talent from four fascinating continents, including our own. For local band The Rats of Tobruk Memorial Pipes and Drum, this will be their eighth performance in the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, but their first chance to take part on home ground in Melbourne.
• More than 14 million people have attended the Tattoo, with the annual audience around 220,000.
• Around 100 million people see the Tattoo each year on international television.
• The event was first seen in colour on TV in 1968.
• Not a single performance of the Tattoo has ever been cancelled.
• The Tattoo is set up and run for charitable purposes. Over the years, it has gifted some £8 million to service and civilian organisations.
• 48 countries from across six continents have been represented at the Tattoo.
• The Tattoo always closes with the Lone Piper playing on the half-moon tower.
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