Thursday, February 24, 2011

Military tattoo

The original meaning of military tattoo is a military drum performance, but nowadays it sometimes means army displays more generally.
It dates from the 17th century when the British Army was fighting in the Low Countries (Belgium and The Netherlands). Drummers from the garrison were sent out into the towns at 21:30 hrs (9:30PM) each evening to inform the soldiers that it was time to return to barracks. The process was known as doe den tap toe (old-Dutch for "turn off the tap"), an instruction to innkeepers to stop serving beer and send the soldiers home for the night. The drummers continued to play until the curfew at 22:00 hrs (10:00PM). Tattoo, earlier tap-too and taptoo, are alterations of the Dutch words tap toe which have the same meaning.
Over the years, the process became more of a show and often included the playing of the first post at 21:30 hrs and the last post at 22:00. Bands and displays were included and shows were often conducted by floodlight or searchlight. Tattoos were commonplace in the late 19th century with most military and garrison towns putting on some kind of show or entertainment during the summer months. Between the First World War and the Second World War elaborate tattoos were held in many towns, with the largest in Aldershot.
One of the best known Tattoos is held on the Esplanade in front of Edinburgh Castle each August and forms the centrepiece of the annual Edinburgh Festival. The Edinburgh Military Tattoo was first staged in 1950; it combines the traditional sounds of the bagpipes and drums with the modern aspects of the armed forces. Another leading UK Tattoo is the Birmingham Tattoo held annually at the National Indoor Arena in November which has been attracting audiences to Birmingham since 1989. In 2008, The Windsor Castle Royal Tattoo was launched, held in the private grounds of Windsor Castle by permission of HM The Queen. The event's proceeds went to Royal British Legion to help support recently returned troops from battle. The event was held again in 2009.
The Norwegian Military Tattoo is internationally famous for its quality and streamlined production. It has been held every second year since 1994 in the capital of Norway, Oslo. Since 1996 the shows have been presented indoors - in the Oslo spektrum which is "tailor-made" for this kind of event.
Another well-known Tattoo was the Royal Tournament which was held annually in London from 1880 to 1999.
The Royal International Air Tattoo is the world's largest military airshow, held annually at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire in aid of the RAF Charitable Trust.

The indoor Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo is the largest annual indoor tattoo, featuring in 2007 over 2000 performers from around the world, including Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway. There is another military tattoo in Canada : The Quebec City Military Tattoo. This event is part of the Quebec City International Festival of Military Bands which takes place in August(14-24).
The largest tattoo in the United States is the Virginia International Tattoo, held every year in Norfolk, Virginia. Over 850 performers play traditional music and many international acts join every branch of the Armed Forces for a spectacular show.

One of the newer tattoos in North America is the Heartland International Tattoo in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, near Chicago. Originally staged at the Northern Illinois University Convocation Center in DeKalb, Illinois, the Heartland Tattoo was created by theatrical and entertainment producer FunME Events in 2006. The Heartland Tattoo is staged in mid-April at the Sears Centre Arena.
The United States Air Force holds tattoos for many different events and celebrations, like base openings and closers, and special events like the 21st Annual Langley Tattoo. The Air Force's largest tattoo is held the last Friday of June each year at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. The 2008 tattoo there drew an estimated 75,000 people. It featured country singing star Charlie Daniels. The 2009 event featured aircraft flyovers and music by country singer Aaron Tippen.

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