After three long years, in-person performances are once again returning for the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo.
In March 2020, when COVID-19 cases arrived in the province, the Tattoo was one of the first to announce its cancellation. It was its first cancellation in its then-42-year history.
Scott Long, managing director and executive producer for the Tattoo, says they’re ready to bring back the show the city has grown to know and love.
“It’s really exciting,” said Long.
“It’s been three years since we’ve had a Tattoo, three years since a lot of events have happened, so we couldn’t be happier.”
Several staple acts and bands of the Tattoo will be making their return, like the Flying Grandpas, the Stadacona Band of the Royal Canadian Navy and the National Band of the Naval Reserve.
But several more will be making their debut, such as the German Bicycle Team and the Jordanian Armed Forces Band.
“We love it here in Halifax,” said Nick Lange with the German Bicycle Team. “It’s a great thing. We can also show our tricks a little different than in competitions.”
“It’s our first time in Canada,” said Omar Altahat with the Jordanian Armed Forces Band. “I’m so happy to be involved with another band.”
Another big name making its debut is High Flyer RB3, an acrobatic group based in Quebec City. The Russian Baris adding the Tattoo to its roster, which includes appearances on America’s Got Talent, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, NBA half-time shows and Cirque du Soleil.
Long says in-person performances like these have taken a major hit since the start of the pandemic and they’re in desperate need of the public’s support.
“It’s never been more important live entertainment. In your own community, your own community concerts, your own community theatre,” he said. “We’re looking forward to welcoming people from away, live at the show again.”
Events Nova Scotia agrees, saying they’re hopeful the Tattoo’s return will result in an economic rebound for local businesses.
“Being able to draw in visitors from around the region and around the world … it’s a return to what we would normally have,” said Mike MacSween, senior advisor with Events Nova Scotia.
“It gets people out, it gets people into certainly downtown Halifax and exploring the city and exploring our province.”
This year, the Tattoo will be free for those under the age of 18. The first show is Saturday night and it runs until July 2.