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BBC Scotland's Pauline Maclean
"The massed bands of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo played in front of a sell-out crowd in New Zealand"
 real 28k

Friday, 10 March, 2000, 20:18 GMT
Piping up a storm Down Under
Military tattoo
The military bands entertained 20,000 people
BBC Scotland arts correspondent Pauline McLean reports on the making of cultural history

The massed bands of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo have played in front of a sell-out crowd in New Zealand, the first time in its 50-year history that the event has gone outside Scotland.

It was so popular that 80,000 tickets were sold in just two-and-a-half hours.

Performer
The tattoo formed an "emotional" link
When the Edinburgh Military Tattoo allowed the show to travel abroad, it was only on one condition - that the castle came too, at least a life-sized replica of it.

The third-scale model of it took six months to create, involved a team of artists and has cost thousands of dollars.

Its creator used drawings and photographs to get everything right to the finest detail.

Strong Scottish links

Wellington, capital of a country where more than half of its population is of Scottish descent, seemed the perfect location.

New Zealand has more pipe bands per person than Scotland and the television version is seen by millions, so no surprise that it was a hit with almost everyone.

Drummer
The pipes and drums enthralled New Zealanders
Carla Van Zon, from New Zealand Festival, told me: "I think we thought that we would sell 50% up front and then it would take us a few months of marketing, getting the word out.

"But the word spread like wildfire and there was an immediate emotional connection with many people who just had to be there."

Twenty thousand people got a taste of what it was all about. More than 1,000 performers in a spectacle of military tradition from Scotland, Fiji and New Zealand.

From the pomp of six out of eight Scottish regiments to the traditions of Maori culture and the Haka.

The tattoo is being staged 10-13 March.

The question now is whether this starts a trend for regular foreign assignments for Scotland's most popular show.

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10 Mar 00 | Scotland
Pictures from the NZ tattoo
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