The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo to march into Melbourne

REMT_The Australian Defence Force BandThe Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo will march into Melbourne for the first time ever in February 2016 when more than 1200 performers will gather at Etihad Stadium.

Featuring a full size replica of the Edinburgh Castle, the massed pipes and drums of Scotland’s famous Regiments and performers from around the World, this will be one of the biggest entertainment events to ever perform at Etihad Stadium.

With its unique, stirring blend of military ceremony, music and entertainment, The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is phenomenally popular, attracting an annual television audience of 100 million. Now the people of Melbourne will have the chance to experience the iconic event live.

“If there is one world event that we do not have currently that I would like to attract, it is the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo,” said Lord Mayor Robert Doyle.

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo attracts the world’s best massed pipes and drums – and Melbourne will be no exception. There will be a large contingent of the leading military bands from the UK, along with other international outfits. There will also be a number of bands representing the Australian Defence Forces. The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Melbourne will be one of the greatest outdoor spectacles to be seen in Australia.

“Australian audiences have always embraced the Royal EdinburghMilitary Tattoo in Edinburgh every August, and comprise one of the largest International supporters of the event,” says Tattoo Producer, Brigadier David Allfrey MBE.

“But in February 2016 the Tattoo will return to Australia, for performances that will be amongst the most spectacular ever staged. In over six and a half decades our unique event has been presented abroad on only three occasions. So we are delighted to be returning this time to Melbourne with a brand new show with the best bands and performers from around the world.”

“To play in Melbourne is an extraordinary privilege and we are delighted to be the most exciting new addition to the 2016 calendar. This will be an event Melbourne will remember for a lifetime. If you have ever wanted to travel to Edinburgh to see the Tattoo, it’s now coming to you Melbourne.”

The word ‘tattoo’ derives from the cry of 17th and 18th century innkeepers in the Low Countries, a coastal region in north western Europe, which includes Belgium and The Netherlands. The shout would go up: “Doe den tap toe” or just “tap toe”, which is the Dutch for “last orders”, the literal translation being “turn off the (beer) taps”. (“Toe” was pronounced “too”.)

The British army first encountered the term “tap-toe” when stationed in Flanders during the War of the Austrian Succession and adopted the practice. At closing time, the pipes and drums of the local regiment would march through the streets, their music signalling that it was time for the tavern owners to turn off the taps of their ale kegs and for the soldiers to return to their quarters.

When modern barracks and full military bands were established later in the 18th century, the term “Tattoo” was used to describe the last call of duty. From this beginning, a tattoo became a ceremonial performance of military music by massed bands.

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is now the leading example of the modern tattoo, developed from early tattoo events held in Britain. Set up and run for charitable purposes, the first official Edinburgh Tattoo began in 1950 with eight items in an all-Scottish program, including massed pipes and drums, massed bands, highland dancing and a drill display.

Australia participated for the first time in 1955, when the Pipe Band of the Cameron Highlanders of Western Australia appeared. Since then, there have been 41 appearances by 23 different Australian bands and community groups at The Royal Edinburgh Tattoo.

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo plays Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium on Friday 12 and Saturday 13 February 2016. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: The Australian Defence Force Band at The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in 2012 (supplied)