The Edinburgh Military Tattoo has been in full swing for over a week now, its music audible from the castle’s surrounds and its fireworks visible in the night sky. For those lucky enough to be in the arena, or one of the 100 million watching on their televisions around the globe, the Tattoo is an inspiring event of epic proportions.
Here we break down some of the facts and figures involved in staging one of the world's largest events:
Military units have come not only from Scotland and the rest of the UK, but also this year from Australia, Oman, Brazil, South Africa, Germany and the Netherlands to make up the 1000-strong performance team. Over the years, more than 40 countries have been represented in this way. Backstage around another 500 people are involved in the logistics of running the show.
2011 saw the unveiling of the new Tattoo stands, which cost £16 million and weigh approximately 1000 tonnes, including 800 tonnes of steel. They have improved seating, corporate hospitality facilities and disability access, jazzed up the rest and retail areas and have considerably the reduced the time needed to erect and dismantle the arena. The cables used in the performance could stretch from Edinburgh to Glasgow, and a single performance can use up to 1400 kilowatts of power.
The grand scale of the Tatoo is enjoyed by over 220 000 audience members annually, around half of whom come from abroad, and around £6 million of the profits from recent years has been donated to service and civilian organizations.
In all its 61 years, no performance of the Tattoo has ever been cancelled, and given Edinburgh’s reputation for sometimes-inclement weather that is no mean achievement for an outdoor event.
The Tattoo will continue its performances in Edinburgh’s heart until the 27th of August.