News story

Sky's the limit for defence personnel taking part in Edinburgh Tattoo

Hundreds of defence personnel will celebrate the power of human potential at this year’s Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, taking place from 3 to 25 August 2018.

Royal Air Force Pilot transforms from a highland drummer into a Typhoon pilot
Royal Air Force Pilot transforms from a highland drummer into a Typhoon pilot. Image credit: The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

The RAF will be the lead presentational service, in its centenary year, for a new show marking the theme of ‘The Sky’s the Limit’.

The band of the Royal Air Force College, and pipers and drummers from across the Service, will play a central role in the world famous show. Three serving RAF personnel also star in this year’s Tattoo advertising campaign.

In 2 of the adverts Flight Lieutenants Jonny Dowen (main image) and Mikaela Harrison, from RAF Conningsby’s 29 Squadron and RAF Falcons display team, transform from a highland drummer into a Typhoon pilot, and from a highland dancer into parachutist. In a third version, RAF Honnington’s Senior Aircraftman Christopher Craig changes from being a RAF Regiment gunner into a bagpiper (below).

Royal Air Force Regiment gunner into a bagpiper
Royal Air Force Regiment gunner into a bagpiper. Image credit: The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

The Royal Navy and army musicians also taking part in this year’s Tattoo include the Royal Marine Band Plymouth, The Band of The Royal Regiment of Scotland, and pipers and drummers from The 1st, 2nd and 4th Battalions, The Royal Regiment of Scotland (1, 2 and 4 SCOTS), The Royal Dragoon Guards, The Queen’s Royal Hussars and The Scots Guards.

Minister for Defence People and Veterans, Tobias Ellwood, said:

The Tattoo is a terrific showcase to display the diversity and talents of our Armed Forces personnel, while celebrating the rich cultural heritage of the United Kingdom.

The participation of Defence people in this word class show provides them with opportunities to engage with the live audience, military performers from around the world and senior figures from key UK allies and partner nations.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), said:

In our 100th anniversary year, I’m really delighted that the Royal Air Force has the lead for this year’s Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo – a very special event in a very special year. Scotland has always been a vital part of that RAF story. From one hundred years ago at Montrose Station, the first operational military airfield, to today at RAF Lossiemouth on the Moray coast, one of the RAF’s principal bases, protecting UK and NATO airspace. I am also proud to say that Scotland was the start of my own personal story and RAF career.

Throughout RAF100 and Scotland’s Year of Young People, the greatest legacy we can build is to inspire and unlock the potential of new generations, so that together, we can help shape our next century. The theme for this year’s Tattoo - “The Sky’s The Limit’ - could not, therefore, be more appropriate. I know that you will have a wonderful evening.

Brigadier David Allfrey, Chief Executive and Producer of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, said:

We are delighted to support RAF100 in their role as the lead Service at this year’s Tattoo. Under our own theme of The Sky’s The Limit, we will explore gravity, the history of manned flight, even into space, and the power of human potential.

We are looking forward to exploring all manner of creative possibilities and collaborations in the production, in the international cast, in the music, in the lighting and projection and in special effects. There are exciting prospects, some of which are out of this world!

Taking place against the iconic backdrop of Edinburgh Castle to a live audience of 220,000, the Tattoo extravaganza returns for 24 performances with a 100 minute showcase of music, dance and technical wizardry, including some of the world’s finest military bands and performers.

The Tattoo was set up and run for charitable purposes. It has gifted £10 million to service and civilian organisations including the Soldiers Charity (formerly known as the Army Benevolent Fund) and RAF Benevolent Fund.

Published 17 July 2018