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BACKSTAGE What You Need to Know About The Belfast International Tattoo

The Belfast International Tattoo is returning to the Arena on 1 and 2 September with their most spectacular show yet! Whether you're a Tattoo enthusiast or have never been, find out everything you need to know here.

The 2023 event promises to be as spectacular as before, featuring dance, music and marching from a host of acts, both local, and international.

The Belfast International Tattoo has become one of the top acts in the Northern Ireland events calendar, delighting fans with a one-of-a-kind show. With an international repertoire to include bands from Canada, Australia, Switzerland and more, you will not be disappointed.

What is the Belfast International Tattoo?

The Belfast Tattoo has its roots firmly based in the history, music and dance traditions of the Ulster-Scots people, who have spread their wings around the world.

A "tattoo" was originally a military band display made up by those in the military themselves, but modern tattoos are so much more! They are a display of culture from countries around the world. The Belfast International Tattoo brings together tattoos from around the world to show case military music and marching, but also dance, stunts, and more!

Who is performing?

Band of the Royal Air Force College: Based at RAF Northolt and RAF Cranwell, RAF Music provides optimum musical support for the Royal Air Force in order to enhance public perception, support State Ceremonial and achieve influence to further Defence and National interests.

Delta Police Pipe Band: Formed in 1971 by members of the Delta Police Department in the City of Delta, near Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Since its inception, the band has grown to 50 members and is now one of the largest Police Pipe Bands in Canada. Fun fact, the band have performed with Sir Paul McCartney on three occasions.

Majesticks Drum Corp: Created in June 2011, Majesticks quickly made a name for itself as a percussion group following a massive performance in the Avenches arena in Switzerland. They've since exported their talents beyond national borders with performances in Germany, France, Malta, Russia, Liechtenstein and now into Northern Ireland.

Calgary Police Pipe Band: The Calgary Police Service Pipe Band was formed in 1973 by Sergeant Bill Crabbe and modelled after the Edinburgh Police Pipe Band. The band competes in western Canada as a Grade 3 pipe band and has won many competitions throughout the years.

Ballygowan Pipe Band: Ballygowan Pipe Band was formed in 1946 in the village of Ballygowan. They play the Brian Boru pipes which are derived from the great highland bagpipes – invented by Henry Starck. There are only 6 Brian Boru pipe bands in existence who still perform today. They will be the first Brian Boru pipe band to perform at the Belfast International Tattoo!

Belfast International Tattoo Highland Dance Team 2023: Kathryn Stewart, former Ulster Champion, has been teaching for 12 years in various locations throughout Northern Ireland. Dancers from these various locations take part in annual examinations through the United Kingdom Alliance (UKA) and regularly compete at competitions throughout Northern Ireland and further afield.

Major Sinclair Memorial Pipe Band: The band was formed in 1957 with amalgamation of the William Johnston Memorial and the Emanuel Pipe bands, both were Belfast bands and the Sinclair stayed in Belfast until the 1970s when they moved to Newtownabbey and now meet in Doagh Ballyclare. These talented men have built on the strong foundations of the band resulting in a very successful 2022 season, winning the British Championships and finishing strongly in all contests entered.

Flying Grandpas: The Flying Grandpas are a group of 13 police officers from the Hamburg Police Force who come with a spectacular and humoristic trampoline show. Through a combination of gymnastic apparatus which includes two trampolines they perform a series of daring flips and other tricks.

Scottish Fiddle Orchestra: The Scottish Fiddle Orchestra is one of Scotland’s foremost traditional music organisations. The Orchestra was formed in 1980, deriving its origins from Fiddlers’ Rallies. The Scottish Fiddle Orchestra will be performing for the first time at the Belfast International Tattoo in 2023.

Kellswater Flute Band: Kellswater Flute Band was founded in 1947 in the townland of Tullynamullan four miles South of Ballymena. Originally Kellswater was a melody flute band, progressing to part music and then to concert flutes.

Ballywalter Flute Band: Ballywalter Flute Band is from the picturesque seaside village on the Ards Peninsula, formed in 1953 it is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. The band has a reputation for obtaining a high standard of musicianship and deportment both on the contest stage and street parades.

How do I get tickets?

Tickets are available via Ticketmaster and are available for 7:30PM on Friday 1 September, 2PM matinee on Saturday 2 September, and 8PM on Saturday 2 September.


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