Military Tattoo in Melbourne

A few weeks ago the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo came to Melbourne for the first time. Originally two performances were scheduled, but ended up with six sell out shows. The famous pipes, drums, fiddles and bugles from around the world authentically recreated all the sights, sounds and atmosphere of one of the world’s greatest events. With so many bagpipes and kilts you’d think we were in Scotland, not Etihad Stadium in Melbourne.



The Military Tattoo always looks to entertain and inspire and had the full life size replica of Edinburgh Castle to complete the authenticity of the event. The show featured international cast, showcasing their military music, with contributions from countries from the Pacific and Europe. The performers gave their best to play their part upholding their values, standards and traditions in this once of a lifetime experience.



1,200 performers from over 48 countries gave their absolute best to create this global gathering entertaining a huge cosmopolitan audience.  As always, the Tattoo has an ability to bring together thousands of people to watch this spectacle and being held in Melbourne was no exception, as they entertained with all the pomp and ceremony the show is famous for. For the record the event sold more tickets than U2, ACDC or One Direction and the venue had a closed roof. I had envisaged the roof would be open, but it was shut, which meant the show remained comfortable despite any inclement weather that may be forecast for the duration of the shows.



The kilted performers have only taken the show outside of Scotland four times in over sixty years and this is the first time held in Melbourne.  This year’s theme is “fanfare for the future” about a shared past, present and future. The Scottish team behind the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo worked for two years designing the 90 minute production which was held at Etihad Stadium.



You don’t get more Scottish than mass bagpipes and kilts, and just like they do in Edinburgh the 1,200 performers all had the crowd marvelling as they entered the stadium by crossing the drawbridge.



The unique show bought together military bands in a colourful display of music and military precision with ceremonial elements from many nations. A sea of massed pipes and drums from world famous regiments showcased the military music, values and traditions of their own Armed Forces.  These expert Pipers and Drummers are all current or previous serving sailors, soldiers and airmen (or women). The show was represented by The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, Battalions from The Royal Regiment of Scotland, Royal Air Force, Australian Defence Force, Highland Pipe bands, The Rats of Tobruk, The Tongan Royal Corps of Musicians, Marching Drill teams, Military bands from Fiji, Western Australia and South Australia, Fiddlers from Shetland and Melbourne, Highland Dancers, King’s Guards from Norway, a Kapa Haka group, New Zealand’s Army Band and more.  The Tongan Royal Corps’ performance combined western music, traditional Tongan music, martial arts and dance. All the groups were absolutely amazing, their appearance, uniforms, choreography and production was presented with absolute precision and accuracy. The Australian Defence Force Bands and the South Australian Police Band were welcomed with enthusiasm and energetically applauded by the patriotic crowd. I was amazed at the meticulous presentation for the whole program, but my favourite was the Top Secret Drum Corps. This outstanding band from Basel in Switzerland is an energetic group of sensational percussionists. The drummers were upbeat and playful, juggling drumsticks and spinning flags styled from military drumming drills of Swiss soldiers dating back to the Middle Ages.



The highlight of the evening for the crowd was the grand finale when the entire cast came together for the National Anthem and the internationally famous song of love and friendship, Auld Lang Syne. The stirring sight of the Lone Piper standing high on the castle wall and it was evident for many in the audience this poignant conclusion will leave memories that will be forever treasured.



After the march out there was an unexpected fireworks display.



Having seen firsthand the unique, stirring blend of military ceremony, music and entertainment it is easy to see why The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is one of the most popular events in the world.



Have you seen the Military Tattoo? Do you have it on your radar to see in Edinburgh in August? Please leave a comment below and let us know.

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17 Responses

  1. Wow, this was quite the event! 1200 pipers and drummers–twice what Edinburgh offers. Nicely done.

  2. Oh my goodness, what a spectacle. Your photos truely capture the pomp, ceremony and colour. My girlfriend took her elderly mum to one of the shows and they loved it too. I wish I had purchased tickets myself now. I wonder whether it will come back ‘down under’?
    annette charlton recently posted…A Family in Paris: book reviewMy Profile

  3. eileen g says:

    Wow, that looks very colorful and quite dramatic. how lucky you were to get to see it!
    eileen g recently posted…Africa With Kids: What To Do in SenegalMy Profile

  4. That looks really posh! I’m probably not allowed to go in there because I’d be so awkward. :p
    Pinay Flying High recently posted…Pool and Beach Access at Sheraton Grand Doha.My Profile

  5. When I saw your tweet and the title of this post, I thought you got a military-themed tattoo somewhere during your travels. :p

    This event looks like something I would highly enjoy. I am getting goosebumps just by reading it and looking at the photos. I’m pretty sure I’d be crying my eyes out during the Auld Lang Syne performance.
    Pinay Flying High recently posted…Pool and Beach Access at Sheraton Grand Doha.My Profile

  6. Corinne says:

    I’ve been to Edinburgh many times and have never seen the Tattoo. The last time we were there, it was all set up, but the tickets were sold out. It looks like quite a show!
    Corinne recently posted…Discover the Magic of the Never Ending RoadMy Profile

  7. That is absolutely fabulous. Awesome photos too. So great that Melbourne got to host it.

  8. Spectacular show…wonderful pictures. This must have been an awesome experience. I have attended a similar event in my country.
    Bushra Muzaffar recently posted…Saturday Night Fever in Noida All This MarchMy Profile

  9. Nancie Lee says:

    Wow! That is amazing! I’ve never heard of a Tattoo, but know I know. I shared this post with my nephew who plays in a Drum and Fife Corp from US history. He would love this. For sure it would be a once in a lifetime event you never forget. You captured the moments beautifully. Thank you so much for sharing!!

  10. What a spectacular show, and a rare sight to see it in Australia! My uncle LOVES the Military Tattoo and whenever they stayed with us for Christmas, we were all forced to watch the event on New Years Eve (we only had 1 TV and no internet in those days!). I have to admit that I did grow to like it and now as an adult would be more than happy to see one live.
    Lyndall – Seize The Day Project recently posted…I Love a Good Sunrise!My Profile

  11. Wow, looks amazing! I am very excited to see it here in Edinburgh as we just moved to a little village outside the city. Glad you got to witness some of the spectacle in Australia!
    Jessica @ Independent Travel Cats recently posted…Venice Simplon-Orient-Express Train: A Luxury Train Journey from London to VeniceMy Profile

  12. Jackie says:

    This is on my bucket list to see in Edinburgh. Of course if it ever came to Toronto that would be perfect too.
    Your photos are great.
    Jackie recently posted…Weekend ReflectionsMy Profile

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