Updated: Aug 16, 2020
At the media launch on the morning of Monday 30th July, Brigadier David Alfrey, the Chief Executive and Producer of the annual spectacle announced the 2018 show and all of the performers.
The theme for this year’s show is ‘The Sky’s the Limit’, which focuses on ‘Potential Unleashed’ and Scotland’s Year of Young People. The show will be marking numerous anniversaries including the centenary of both The Royal Air Force and The Czech Republic’s Independence. The show will also be telling the story of flight; starting with the first flights of insects through to the Apollo 11 Mission, where the castle and esplanade will ‘take off’ before breaking into Jeff Lynne’s ‘Mr Blue Sky’ for the Tattoo Fireworks.
To mark the centenary of the Czech Republic’s Independence, The Central Band of the Czech Armed Forces will be bringing a 120 strong ensemble, with their performance featuring some traditional dancers from the Ondras Military Arts Ensemble. A tri service band will perform with musicians from The Band of HM Royal Marines Plymouth, The Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland and The Band of the RAF College, who will be leading the tri service band. Also from the Corps of Army Music are the Countess of Wessex String Orchestra and The Band of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, who will act as the tattoo’s stage band.
Returning to the Tattoo this year are tattoo favourite The Top Secret Drum Corps from Basel in Switzerland, who are fresh from their recent run at The Basel Tattoo. Also straight from this year’s Basel Tattoo and returning to the Royal Edinburgh are The Banda Monumental Jaguars Marching Band from Mexico, who last performed in 2013. The band will be bringing the sights and sounds of Mexican mariachi music to the esplanade. The act is also set to feature the 2017 chart-topping hit ‘Despacito’ by Luis Fonsi.
New to the tattoo this year is an exciting act from Oman, who have sent 30 horses from their Royal Cavalry, by plane, to Edinburgh for the Mounted Band of the Royal Cavalry of Oman to ride out in front of Edinburgh Castle each night during the month of August. They will be joined by The Sultanate’s of Oman all Female Military Band (on foot). The Brigadier said that this act has taken four and a half years to organise.
The United States Air Force Honour Guard, who last performed in Edinburgh in 2015 are also set to make a return to perform their amazing drill display with bayonets tightly fixed on to the top of their rifles. Also from America this year are The Middlesex County Volunteers who last performed in 2007 and on the 2010 tour to Australia. This group of fifers and drummers who set up the band in Boston to keep the tradition of 18th century Fife and Drum music alive.
The 2018 Massed Pipes and Drums are to include Pipes and Drums from The Royal Air Force, many Scottish Regiments, four from Australia and others locations from around the World. The Tattoo Dance Company will perform a special display marking the 100th anniversary of the formation of the RAF and Hjaltibonhoga, the tattoo fiddle company will collaborate with The Countess of Wessex String Orchestra for the first time and tell the story of birds native to the Shetland Islands.
For the finale, the full cast will assemble to a newly composed piece of music titled ‘The Sky’s the Limit’, the theme of this year’s show. The Last Post will this year be sounded by The Royal Ypriana Wind Band Buglers after the evening hymn ‘Amazing Grace’ and before The Lone Piper high up in the Castle Ramparts.
On the technical side of the Tattoo, the tattoo has new lasers and will once again use fireworks and smoke machines. This year, after the massive jump in projection technology in 2016, the tattoo is using projections onto the castle esplanade as well as projecting onto the Castle walls.