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The largest spectacle of music and might in the United States, The Virginia International Tattoo features an international cast and many of the U.S. military bands. Imagine if Hollywood decided to create an old fashioned epic motion picture with a patriotic theme and you had a chance to see it performed live. You would have a huge cast, stunning costumes, intricate choreography, a dramatic musical soundtrack, moments of sheer spectacle, stirring pride and patriotism, a really good villain, and 2 hours that flew by way too fast. Replace the villain with bag pipers and you have the Virginia International Tattoo!

Presented annually as part of the Virginia Arts Festival, the term Tattoo evolved from a European tradition dating back to the 17th century when Low Country innkeepers would cry “Doe den tap toe!” – “Turn off the taps!” as the fifes and drums of the local regiment signaled a return to quarters.

At the heart of all Tattoos across the world is a ceremonial performance of military music by massed bands. But each Tattoo is different and is influenced by the culture of the country they represent. Fans of these massed spectacles of music and might flock to the world’s great Tattoos: the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Scotland, the Basel Tattoo in Switzerland, and the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo in Canada. But the greatest Tattoo in the United States, and the most patriotic in the world, is the Virginia International Tattoo.

Cost: $10–$100

Thursday: 7:30 p.m.
Friday: 7:30 p.m.
Saturday: 7:30 p.m.
Sunday: 2:30 p.m.

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