The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo 2023 – JJ Chalmers and Jennifer Reoch, both celebrated figures in the world of entertainment, join hands to host a grandiose celebration at the iconic Edinburgh Castle, marking yet another year of the much-anticipated annual extravaganza. This event stands out as a beacon of international artistry, presenting a stunning display of diverse talents from across continents. Central to this grand affair is the world-renowned Massed Pipes and Drums, an ensemble whose haunting melodies and rhythms have enchanted countless audiences for years.
This year, the audience will be treated to an even more eclectic lineup of performers, each representing the pinnacle of their craft. From the Caribbean comes the mesmerizing Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force Steel Orchestra, weaving a tapestry of beats that resonate deep within. The Swiss Armed Forces Central Band is set to showcase the harmonious traditions of Europe, their melodies a testament to centuries of musical evolution.
Then, with precision and grace, His Majesty the King of Norway’s Guards and Drill Team will demonstrate their disciplined routines, a blend of martial tradition and performance art. Representing the United States, the US Air Force Band promises to stir emotions with their soulful renditions, while the esteemed RAF King’s Colour Squadron from the United Kingdom will epitomize regal elegance in their appearance and performance. Each act on stage not only brings a unique musical or artistic style but also represents a rich cultural heritage, making the event a global symphony of traditions and talents.
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo 2023
JJ Chalmers and Jennifer Reoch will host the annual spectacular at Edinburgh Castle this August, featuring an array of global military talent led by the famous Massed Pipes and Drums. Joining the lineup are the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force Steel Orchestra, the Swiss Armed Forces Central Band, His Majesty the King of Norway’s Guards and Drill Team, the US Air Force Band and the RAF King’s Colour Squadron.
A Historic Edinburgh Tradition
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is a series of military tattoos performed annually by British Armed Forces, Commonwealth and international military bands, and artistic performance teams on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle in the capital of Scotland. This event draws in audiences from around the world for an evening showcase of music, dance and precision displays against the backdrop of the historic Edinburgh castle.
The tattoo was first staged in 1950 for the Edinburgh Festival and was titled the Scottish Command Tattoo. It adopted its current name in 1960 and has grown into an iconic annual tradition for the city. The military tattoo officially became “Royal” in 2010 after being granted royal patronage by Queen Elizabeth II.
What began as an event for local residents has blossomed into an internationally renowned military spectacle, with people flocking from across the globe to witness the Tattoo’s unique fusion of music, dance, and military tradition. Audiences can expect to see over 1,200 performers in each show that runs for multiple weeks in August annually.
Spotlight on 2023 Hosts
This year the hosts entrusted with guiding audiences through the Tattoo performances and pageantry are British television presenter JJ Chalmers and Scottish singer Jennifer Reoch.
JJ Chalmers is a former Royal Marine known for working as a presenter across BBC media, including coverage of the Invictus Games. He also published a book in 2020 titled “Impossible: My Story” which details his military career and recovery from severe injuries sustained in an IED explosion during service in Afghanistan.
Co-host Jennifer Reoch is a Scottish mezzo-soprano vocalist who has performed at prestigious venues across Europe, released two studio albums, and made television appearances around Britain. This marks her first time hosting the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
Chalmers and Reoch will provide backstories on the international performers and guide viewers through the immersive Tattoo experience across the multiple August show dates.
Spotlight on Massed Pipes and Drums
A central feature of every Tattoo is the Massed Pipes and Drums, a collection of pipers and drummers from multiple regiments. Their music represents an integral part of Scottish military tradition.
The Massed Pipes and Drums perform collectively as one group dressed in traditional highland attire. There are around 200 pipers and drummers that come together from British and Commonwealth military units to perform at the Tattoo as the Massed Pipes and Drums.
Popular musical selections played by the Massed Pipes and Drums include “Highland Laddie”, “The Brown Haired Maiden”, “Scotland the Brave” and “Amazing Grace”. The group provides a rousing start and finish to each evening’s Tattoo through their display of musical skill and tradition.
Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force Steel Orchestra
One exciting international act in the 2023 lineup is the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force Steel Orchestra. Steelpan music is a form of percussive musical originating from Trinidad and Tobago, which involves melodies being played on steelpans – drums made from the inverted shells of oil barrels.
The Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force Steel Orchestra was formed in 1994 and consists of members of the country’s defense force who perform as a military band using steelpan instruments. The group promotes the unique culture of their country through emotive steelpan renditions of popular music.
Audiences can expect the Trinidadian ensemble to perform exhilarating arrangements of contemporary hits and traditional folk songs with masterful skill during their showcase at the Tattoo. This marks the Steel Orchestra’s first ever appearance at the Edinburgh showcase.
Swiss Armed Forces Central Band
Another international group gracing the esplanade this year is Switzerland’s Swiss Armed Forces Central Band. Formed in 1850, it is the official military band of the Swiss Armed Forces.
The band consists of close to 50 professional musicians recruited from Switzerland’s civilian musicians. Their repertoire encompasses classical, brass band, pop, rock, jazz, folk and military marches tailored for each performance.
Under the baton of conductor Lt. Colonel Armin Bachofner, the Swiss Armed Forces Central Band will showcase both traditional Swiss and contemporary pieces throughout their performance. This demonstrates the high level of musical excellence within the Swiss army ranks.
His Majesty the King of Norway’s Guards and Drill Team
His Majesty the King of Norway’s Guard dates back to 1856, tasked with protecting the Norwegian Royal Family in Oslo. A specially selected team from the Guard will be performing at this year’s Tattoo.
The drill team demonstrates complex close order drill formations and military procedures to choreographed musical arrangements. Displaying immaculate precision and timing, the team’s presentation highlights the elite discipline and skills of Norway’s royal guards.
The Norwegian drill team is sure to astound audiences with their polished and synchronized display of military formality mixed with pageantry through their routined march showcase. Their appearance marks the first time that the King of Norway’s Guard has performed at the Tattoo.
US Air Force Band
Representing the United States military prowess is the US Air Force Band, specifically the acclaimed Airmen of Note jazz ensemble. Stationed in Washington, D.C., it is one of six musical ensembles within the Air Force Band.
Airmen of Note is comprised of 18 active duty airmen musicians who cover a spectrum of jazz idioms through their performance. The group’s appearances aim to increase public awareness about the Air Force and showcase the talents of its musicians.
Audiences can expect a rousing showcase of beloved jazz and swing classics as the Airmen of Note infuse the military presentation with their upbeat musical notes. Tattoo attendees will be treated to a taste of authentic American big band jazz.
RAF King’s Colour Squadron
The final act highlighted for this year’s Tattoo is the RAF King’s Colour Squadron, the official ceremonial unit of the Royal Air Force. Known for their precision drill displays, the squadron prides itself on representing the Royal Air Force at major national and international events.
Based at RAF Northolt, the Squadron consists of 46 non-commissioned officers who practice intensive foot and arms drills daily. Their showcase at the Tattoo will feature perfectly synchronized formations and drill displays set to customized musical arrangements.
With expertise in drill enhanced by consistent rehearsals, their showcase promises to provide an awe-inspiring display of skills and discipline from Britain’s Royal Air Force.
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo combines music, dance, and military traditions into an iconic annual spectacle. Hosts JJ Chalmers and Jennifer Reoch will guide audiences through performances by talented military bands and drill teams from around the world at the 2023 event.
Spotlights include the traditional Scottish Massed Pipes and Drums, the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force Steel Orchestra making their debut Tattoo appearance, Switzerland’s elite Swiss Armed Forces Central Band, Norway’s precisely drilled King’s Guard, the jazz excellence of the US Air Force Band, and the drill mastery of the RAF King’s Colour Squadron.
This August, the Edinburgh Castle esplanade will come alive with music and pageantry during the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo 2023. Attending allows you to witness outstanding military bands and talent from across the globe, all while soaking in the atmosphere and history of Edinburgh.
Frequently Asked Questions – The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo 2023
What is the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo?
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is an annual series of military tattoos performed by British Armed Forces, Commonwealth and international military bands, and artistic performance teams on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle in the capital of Scotland.
Who are the 2023 Tattoo hosts?
The hosts for the 2023 Tattoo are British television presenter JJ Chalmers and Scottish singer Jennifer Reoch.
How many performers are part of the Massed Pipes and Drums?
There are around 200 pipers and drummers from multiple regiments that come together to perform as the Massed Pipes and Drums at each Tattoo.
What instruments does the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force Steel Orchestra play?
The Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force Steel Orchestra performs on steelpan instruments, made from the inverted shells of oil barrels. This creates the upbeat, melodic steelpan sound.
How many musicians make up the Swiss Armed Forces Central Band?
The Swiss Armed Forces Central Band consists of close to 50 professional musicians recruited from Switzerland’s civilian musicians.