Page last updated at 23:39 GMT, Thursday, 6 August 2009 00:39 UK

Military tattoo drums up interest

massed pipes and drums
More than 1,000 performers take part in the Tattoo every night

The Edinburgh Military Tattoo has sold out its three-week run despite the recession.

The 60th Tattoo, which features more than 1,000 performers from around the world, has sold all 217,275 tickets for the Edinburgh Castle Esplanade event.

It is the 11th year in a row the Tattoo has sold out but this year was months later than the previous two, selling out with just a week to go.

Organisers said they were delighted its popularity was "undiminished".

Performers from Australia, Switzerland, South Africa, New Zealand, Tonga and China will appear in the Tattoo, alongside those from the UK.

Highlights include one of China's top cultural acts, the 90-strong She Huo troupe from Edinburgh's twin city of Xi'an, with a colourful display of traditional song, dance and acrobatics.

There will also be an all-action mock rescue by the RAF medical emergency response team.

In what appears to be a Chinook helicopter - created by use of sophisticated lighting technology - the team will rescue two "injured" colleagues from a hostile environment.

The 90-strong She Huo troupe from the Chinese city of Xi'an
The 90-strong She Huo troupe from the Chinese city of Xi'an will perform

A special homage to Scottish poet Robert Burns will include Canada's Calgary Burns singers - alongside vocalists from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.

And the pipes and drums of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, whose CD of military music partly recorded in Iraq won the best album award at the Classical Brits ceremony in May, will take to the arena along with The Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

Three pipe bands from the southern hemisphere - New Zealand's Auckland Police, the Australian Federal Police from Canberra and the South African Cape Town Highlanders - will join the Royal Highland Fusiliers and the 1st Royal Tank Regiment, among others, to entertain the crowds.

The grand finale, with all the performers and a musical medley in honour of Scotland's national bard, will bring the show to a close as the Lone Piper, high on the Castle ramparts, plays A Gratefu' Prayer.

Tattoo chief executive and producer, Major General Euan Loudon, said: "It seems that the popularity of the Edinburgh Tattoo remains undiminished and I am delighted that our ongoing success continues to help make an impact on the wider Scottish tourism economy as well as on our ability to support our annual charitable giving."

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