We love a good show. We love pomp and celebration, fireworks and feasts, music and the heritage of tradition. And we love it even more when these converge together in one of the world’s most storied and beautiful locales. At a castle. Castles tend to lend a certain amount of awe and importance to any event, after all.
That air of profoundness is palpable at the Edinburgh International Festival. You’ll feel the excitement for yourself during the 2017 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo – part of the annual Edinburgh International Festival (the largest celebration of arts and culture in the world) and a very special highlight of Crystal Symphony’s overnight stay in the Scottish capital next August. The city, colloquially pronounced Embra by the quick-tongued locals, has been the backdrop for this astonishing display of military precision and splendor for more than 60 years, its 1,100-year-old castle the imposing centerpiece.
The atmosphere of these military actions are nothing but celebratory, though, as Her Majesty’s troops from all branches of the British Armed Forces, Commonwealth, march along the castle’s Esplanade in perfect synchronization, performing alongside international military bands and impressing, literally, everyone. Indeed, the attendance for the annual festival (and the Tattoo specifically) has surpassed 200,000 guests for the past several years, growing each year and welcoming more than 30% of those revelers from overseas. Performers, too, hail from all over the world, with military bands from Netherlands, Norway and even Africa sharing their talents.
And while the spirit of the festival is international common ground and the aforementioned shared love of a good show, the focus is decidedly on the Scots for this occasion. You’ll be mesmerized by the members of the national regiments, as battalions from The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment), The Royal Regiment of Scotland and a dozen others take the stage, their bagpipes at the ready.
The 10-day voyage is named for the event – “Highlighting the Edinburgh Tattoo” – and rightfully so, as Crystal guests will enjoy specially arranged seats and perks for the evening festivities. But, beyond the festivities, you’ll be charmed by the city and its residents’ genuine friendliness. Appreciation of expression, creativity and pride in country and heritage is everywhere. You’ll see plenty of men in kilts showing off the owner’s clan in a traditional tartan, one of Scotland’s most enduring traditions. And if the proud wearer is sporting the full kit-and-caboodle, you’ll see wonderful formal dress Scottish Highland, complete with the kilt, kilt pin, belt and buckle, a fancy sporran, kilt shirt, Prince Charlie jacket, kilt hose, flashes, ghillie brogues and a fly plaid.
Perhaps the woolen tartan specialist mills providing weaving demonstrations will pique your interest in researching your own family tartan. Consult the official database known as The Scottish Register of Tartans , or design your own tartan from scratch or go for one of the four “universal” plaids (Hunting Stewart, Black Watch, Caledonia, Jacobite).
You’ll be perfectly suited for the evening’s festivities in your new frock. It promises to be quite a show.