In any given year, the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo welcomes the world to Halifax for a week of shows at the Scotiabank Centre. But this is no average year. So, as planning for this year’s show got underway with the uncertainty of pandemic restrictions ahead, organizers decided to produce a virtual show in 2021.
The title of the show speaks for itself and celebrates all things Nova Scotian past, present, and future.
No ordinary online experience, though, this year’s “The Spirt of Nova Scotia” Tattoo will travel the world online with a series of geo-gated performances through North America, Europe, Australia & New Zealand and then to the rest of the world.
For the Tattoo’s managing director and executive producer, Scott Long, it was not only about keeping audiences and artists engaged after not being able to produce a show in two years but creating something special for fans.
“It was a great challenge, we learned a lot and I think it’s gonna be a great show,” says Long.
Filmed mainly at various locations across Nova Scotia under “The Spirt of Nova Scotia” banner, not surprisingly, the pre-recorded show is chockful of East Coast artists and acts connected to the province. It also includes a couple of international guests to add to the variety.
“The title of the show speaks for itself and celebrates all things Nova Scotian past, present, and future,” says Long. “It’s a great showcase of Nova Scotian artists and beyond.”
Among the local artists is Halifax-based singer-songwriter Zamani who wrote, produced and directed the video for a song commissioned by the Tattoo for the show.
“Her piece commemorates the 75th anniversary of Viola Desmond’s challenge to racial segregation in Nova Scotia,” says Long. “It’s a very powerful piece.”
Others on the playbill include multi-Juno Award-winning fiddler Ashley MacIsaac, the Tattoo’s Choir, Highland Dance Team & Massed Pipes & Drums, plus Acadian dancers La Baie en Joie, Celtic supergroup Còig, Stadacona Band of the Royal Canadian Navy and others.
Beyond the music, military batteries from Halifax and Yarmouth will run the obstacle race to celebrate the 150th anniversary of The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery and the return of fan favourites, The Flying Grandpas from Germany.
But even while this year’s virtual Tattoo tour is about to begin, plans for next year’s live show are well underway, with tickets on sale now.
“We’ve got three acts confirmed already, but there’s much more to come, including some fan favourites from over the years,” says Long. “After being out of commission for two years because of COVID, it’s going to be a comeback year for us, so we want to make it as big as ever.”
For now, though, audiences worldwide will be able to experience “The Spirit of Nova Scotia” beginning on December 17 for a minimum $5 admission price ($15 suggested) per household in equivalent local currency. And while each show is restricted to a specific geographic location, it will remain available for 48 hours after it ends.
Proceeds from this year’s year show will support the Nova Scotia Tattoo Foundation’s Youth Pipes and Drums Program. Visit nstattoo.ca for tickets and more information.