Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo back on the march this summer

HALIFAX, NS — Strike up the bands!

The Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo is back in Halifax with a martial beat and amazing feats starting on Saturday.

After three years without hearing the skirl of the pipes or the brassy glory of the world’s top marching ensembles in Scotiabank Centre, the long-running celebration of the region’s military history and broad cultural mosaic will run through July 2 with a host of visiting performers from across the country and around the globe.

During a Wednesday sneak preview of this year’s event, a relieved Tattoo managing director and executive producer Scott Long expressed his delight at being able to bring the 43-year-old event back to downtown Halifax with a wide range of new performers and familiar favorites after two years of postponements due to COVID-19.

“We have a cast from all over the world this year, and we’re very happy to be able to host an international cast and one from across Canada. Especially during these challenging times,” said Long, with a voice showing signs of wear from weeks of communicating with the show’s skilled performers, able technical crew and eager volunteers.

Members of the German Bicycle Team perform at the media preview for the 2022 Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo on Wednesday, June 22, 2022. This year’s Tattoo features performers from across Canada as well as Germany and Jordan. – Ryan Taplin

“I’ve gotta tell ya, I have to thank them because they put up with some insane travel to get here. I think every international act faced just about every roadblock to get there, but they’re all here and they’re all on the ground, and they’re working their butts off to play great music for us, so we really appreciate that. ”

Reconnecting with its audience after three years can’t be an easy task, and to that end, the Tattoo is providing are free tickets for those aged 18 and under to give families a break, as well as a livestreamed version of Saturday’s opening night for those who aren’t comfortable attending in person.

“It’s a big part of the Tattoo’s mission to make sure that it’s as accessible as possible, and that we’re affordable for families. It’s really important for us to get young people into the show,” said Long, who noted that 2,500 Nova Scotia schoolkids will also be attending a special matinee performance, to take in the pageantry and artistry of groups like the Tattoo International Highland Dance Team and the North American Brass Band Summer School musicians.

A post-show Tattoo Festival Club will also be happening on select nights during the run, in the Light House Arts Centre, with performers like Ashley MacIsaac, theGilberts, Roxy & the Underground Soul Sound, Casual Cries for Help, Carson Downey Band and the Hub City Big Band. Admission is free to Tattoo ticket holders as well as cast members and crew.

There will also be free Tattoo Festival events on the Grand Parade and a 10 am Canada Day parade on Spring Garden Road so as many people as possible can see international performers like the Jordanian Armed Forces Band, celebrating its 101st anniversary with its first trip to Canada .

“Everyone here from Jordan liked coming to Canada to share with the other bands here,” said Jordanian band spokesman Major Omar Altahat, following a performance by the 52-piece group which incorporates bagpipes as well as brass instruments.

“For us, it’s the best chance to share our culture and be involved with the other bands.”

Circus artist Anastasia performs at the media preview for the 2022 Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo on Wednesday, June 22, 2022. - Ryan Taplin
Circus artist Anastasia performs at the media preview for the 2022 Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo on Wednesday, June 22, 2022. – Ryan Taplin

The international contingent also includes a significant German component, with the return of the comedic acrobatic troupe the Flying Grandpas, the German army’s Heeresmusikkorps Neubrandenburg and, for the first time, the German Bicycle Team, with champion athletes performing impressive routines on two wheels.

“The nice part of our kind of sport is that it’s also very entertaining,” said bicycle team coach Katherin Igel. “It looks impressive, the tricks are pretty, and the athletes enjoy the applause of the people.

“So we are very happy to be here, and to give them the chance to show what they can do and give them this beautiful stage here in Canada.”

High Flyer RB3, seen here at the Scotiabank Center on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, is one of the acts in this year's Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo.  - Ryan Taplin
High Flyer RB3, seen here at the Scotiabank Center on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, is one of the acts in this year’s Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo. – Ryan Taplin

Other Tattoo highlights will include a tribute to the legacy of Nova Scotia’s No. 2 Black Construction Battalion during the First World War — featuring the music of East Coast Music Award-winner Zamani — Mi’kmaq powwow ensemble Eastern Eagle, Canadian Armed Forces bands including Halifax’s own Stadacona Band of the Royal Canadian Navy and the Vancouver Police Pipe Band .

Maritimes musical talent will also be highlighted by the Tattoo Choir and Children’s Chorus, Truro singer Julia Deuville and multi-talented musician Brad Davidge, along with Pictou comedian Peter Anthony who makes his debut this year as the Tattoo’s announcer.

There will also be the impressive acrobatics of circus artist Anastasia and Quebec’s High Flyer RB3, which has just returned to Canada from performing in France and Kuwait. “A lot of the show is musical numbers, so I guess we bring more of the circus side, acrobatics and that kind of stuff, so it’s a change from the other numbers,” said High Flyer’s Eve Gagne, shortly after being flung 22 feet into the air by her teammates Marco Dieckmann and Yves Gagnon.

For more on the return of the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo at Scotiabank Centre, and the free Tattoo Festival events happening around town, visit

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