Edinburgh Tattoo cancelled for second year amid pandemic

The annual event was due to return to the city in August, but organisers have postponed it due to financial fears.

Edinburgh Tattoo cancelled for second year amid pandemic iStock

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo has been cancelled for a second year. 

The annual event is part of the Edinburgh Festivals which take place through the month of August.

Held near Edinburgh Castle, the show encompasses acts from military organisations, dancers and pipe bands and culminates in a fireworks display each night.

The tattoo was cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, however organisers have decided to postpone the show for another year. 

Organisers said it would be “irresponsible to press on and to risk the longer-term financial viability of our charity” by staging the tattoo in 2021. 

Chief executive, Buster Howes, said: “Despite the sense of optimism around the UK’s emergence from the pandemic and our huge enthusiasm to stage a performance this year, it is now clear that the financial risks we confront in delivering The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, at scale, on the Castle Esplanade in August are simply too great.  

“Consequently, it is with enormous regret and disappointment that we announce the cancellation of the 2021 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

“We have for months forensically monitored, assessed and sought to mitigate the constraints and uncertainties involved in mounting our show. However, we now reluctantly conclude it would be irresponsible to press on and to risk the longer-term financial viability of our charity, without the ability to underwrite and to offset the potential, substantial economic losses associated with last-minute cancellation obliged by changes in public health policy.

“This has been a very difficult decision. We appreciate it has far-reaching implications for our staff, performers, suppliers, and guests, but we must act responsibly and, in the best, long-term interests of all. Tickets for 2021 will be refunded in full: for those wishing to join us next year, tickets can be transferred to 2022.

“A tremendous amount of energy and effort goes into planning and delivering each Tattoo and this year was no exception.  This is a very disappointing outcome.  We will now refocus to find other ways to contribute to the national spirit of recovery this year and to surprise and delight the people of our city and from further afield.

“We would like to thank all our ticket holders, friends and stakeholders for their patience over the past year as we have navigated the uncertainty of the pandemic.  

“Their continuing commitment and support has been much appreciated by everyone at the Tattoo and we look forward to welcoming them back to the esplanade in the future.”

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