More than 3,000 clansmen will take part in this year’s Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo as part of a celebration of Scotland’s themed Year of History, Heritage & Archaeology.

Men and women from 57 clans – including many from overseas – will gather on Edinburgh Castle’s Esplanade for 25 nightly parades to kick off the Tattoo, which is in its 68th season, on Friday.

Each contingent (two or three each evening) will march down from the Great Hall of the Castle behind their own pipers and standards to parade, and greet the Salute Taker before the start of each show.

The Tattoo’s theme Splash of Tartan is designed to reach out to the Scottish Diaspora and everyone with a Scottish connection or a passion for Scotland.  Everyone is encouraged to ‘Splash their Tartan’ by dressing in their own or chosen tartan including ‘trews’, kilts, socks, plaids, shawls, sporrans, and bonnets.

The programme will pay rich tribute to the UK’s maritime heritage and the Royal Navy in this special year, with HMS Queen Elizabeth now on sea trials and HMS Prince of Wales in build. Major contingents from France, India and the United States will complete the glittering line-up.

The Tattoo also welcomes a cast of more than 1,200 performers from across the world: more than 250 pipers and drummers, five United Kingdom military bands drawn from across the three Services and a first-time performance from Japan will feature as part of the month-long event.

Brigadier David Allfrey, Chief Executive and Producer of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo said: “Yet again, the Castle Esplanade is set to come alive with colour, music and history as we bring together an extraordinary group of military and folkloric performers to help us ‘Splash the Tartan’. Each performer, working as an individual, and as part of a mighty team, is supported by world-class musical arrangements, leading edge production techniques, digital sound, massive lighting, three million pixels of projection power, stunning fireworks and special effects and… a wonderful sense of common purpose.”

The Tattoo will launch its first app to act as an interactive companion to the 2017 show will providing visitors with a set of digital features that will enhance the experience.

Briadier Allfrey added: “Whilst we always work to remain true to history and heritage – to remain authentic – we are constantly looking to innovate and evolve.  As part of this, we are exploring leading edge technologies and expertise to help deliver the very best experience for our live and digital audiences.  We are launching an app this year – the first in three stages of development – to cater for the wishes of an increasingly technically aware and demanding audience.  We do not wish to draw folk away from the fabulous spectacle of the Show but we want to present a range of information and services that might make the whole experience even more fun and memorable.  This first version will help us to better understand what our audience desires.  It will allow us to shape what we develop for future shows.”

Sergeant Ayami Nakama from first time performers Japan’s Ground Self Defence Force Central Band at the press launch of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Sir Malcolm MacGregor, Convener of the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs, added: “The invitation to participate in The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is a wonderful opportunity for the Scottish Clans and Families.  It has generated great interest and excitement throughout the clan network in Scotland and abroad.

“It is the first time that the clans have been formally invited to parade within the Castle ramparts. Millions of people all over the world are of Scottish descent and are taking even more interest in their ancestry and heritage.  Showcasing the clans in all their finery at the Tattoo will bring added colour and spectacle to such a world-class event.”

The Tattoo takes place between 4-26 August on the Esplanade of Edinburgh Castle. More than 1,200 cast and crew are involved in the organisation of the event which plays out to an audience of 8,800 each evening and to an estimated global audience of over 100M through programmed televised broadcasts.  2017 is expected to be the Tattoo’s 19th consecutive sell-out year.

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