The Highland Military Tattoo.
The Board of The Highland Military Tattoo have taken the decision not hold another Tattoo. Despite the tremendous praise for the event again this year, the Board are in full agreement that another year of low attendance rates, the likelihood of increased costs for Ministry of Defence support and the Tattoo’s risky financial situation make it unsustainable.
The Tattoo attracted some 6,174 visitors this year, 843 more than in 2016 but still well short of the 8,000 target- and in spite of increased marketing efforts and expenditure.
The commercial arms of the Ministry of Defence have greatly increased scrutiny of the military resources required for events such as the Tattoo as they seek value for money. Although the Tattoo aims to support the Armed Forces and their charities, MoD charges are likely to increase significantly in 2018 and beyond.
The Tattoo made small losses in each of its first 3 years, but this year made a larger loss as ticket sales fell short. There were again grants from public bodies and many donations from businesses and private individuals, however these did not fill the gap between ticket sales and the cost of the event.
The Tattoo’s Director, Major General Seymour Monro, said: “The Highland Military Tattoo has been a fantastic event-everyone who has seen it has told us so. It has improved year on year and people really enjoy the whole experience at Fort George. It brought significant financial benefits to the region.”
He continued “We have delivered this authentic, high quality performance for 4 years but we have come to the sad conclusion that it is not sustainable even though we have received a new, generous funding offer from Historic Environment Scotland who have a major stake in the Fort and its future. Simply put, we needed more bums on seats and more sponsorship including a headline sponsor.”
“The Directors cannot go on shouldering the financial losses and I have nothing but praise for what the team have achieved. We are all enormously grateful to the many performers –especially the younger ones-who have produced really professional shows. And praise too for all our excellent contractors without whom the Tattoos would not have happened and huge thanks to our generous supporters”.
“We are sure that the Highlands and Moray should have an annual Tattoo and that Fort George is the best place to hold it. I hope that in the future it may be possible to hold a Tattoo in the Highlands again”.
Seymour Monro 21 Nov