Apart from denoting the practice of “tattooing”, that is, the marking of the skin with patterns and designs by inserting coloured pigment under the skin, the word “tattoo” also defines a type of military musical performance and display by the armed forces in general.
Historically, the reference to such a performance linked to this term originates from the early 17th century, when the Dutch used the phrase “doe den tap toe” (“turn off the tap”), to refer to a routine signal given by drummers as an instruction to innkeepers near military garrisons to stop serving beer, and for the soldiers to return to their barracks. Although the “tattoo” was originally a form of military drill, it gradually evolved into a more elaborate show involving theatrics, sporting activities and musical performances.
Although perhaps the most well known European Military Tattoo is the one held in front of Edinburgh Castle each August, as part of the annual Edinburgh Festival, Malta’s Military Tattoo is also a wonderful spectacle, which is definitely not to be missed.
This year’s Military Tattoo, which will be celebrating its 13th edition, will be held on the 15th and 16th of October at the Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre (MFSS), Ta’ Qali. This event, which will provide a spectacular show for audiences of all ages, will offer not only classical tunes, but also popular current ones – all of which will be performed in the context of a Military March parade.
This year’s line-up will include three international bands, as well as well as seven local ones. The Majesticks, the Wessex Military Band, and the Nadarzyn Orchestra Band from Poland will act as a magnificent foil to our local Maltese Armed Forces of Malta Band, the Armed Forces of Malta Drill Team, the Police Force Band, the Marsa Scouts Pipes and Drums, the Red Hackle Pipes and Drums, as well as the Hamrun Scouts Pipes and Drums.
The Maltese are very fond of band music, and this is reflected in the fact that there are more than 90 active band-clubs within the Maltese islands. Band clubs perform both within and outside their localities, and this also adds more value to band music as a source of touristic attraction. Summer is the main season during which local band clubs generally perform, as these are very active during local Parish feasts and events. The Military Tattoo therefore acts as the perfect conclusion to the Maltese festive season, in which band-clubs provide a major part of the live-entertainment.
During the first week of October, the Minister of Interior and National Security, the Hon. Carmelo Abela, visited the rehearsals of the Malta Military Tattoo, and said that the Military Tattoo was also important as it served as a musical platform for the Armed Forces, giving members space to express their level as musicians. The Army’s Band in fact is composed of 43 professional musicians and has been established for more than 127 years, while the Police Band consists of 41 members and has been established for 95 years.
The Malta Military Tattoo, which provides an entertaining atmosphere replete with precision marching, formations, and gymnastic displays, apart from very good music, is a once-in-a-year opportunity not to be missed.
Ticket Prices are: €30 Platinum, €25 Gold, €20 Silver, and €15 Bronze. These can be purchased from MFCC offices, which are open from 8.30am to 5.00pm from Monday to Friday, or from www.ticketline.com.mt.