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Audiences wowed as Edinburgh Military Tattoo begins run

An 8000-strong crowd enjoyed Thursday's final rehearsal at Edinburgh Castle.

Musicians and dancers from across the continents wowed audiences as the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo began its annual run.

Colourful costumes and rousing tunes helped a more than 8000-strong crowd forget the drizzle at Edinburgh Castle where a final rehearsal took place on Thursday night.

Performers from as far afield as Australia, Mexico and Malawi are taking part in the run of shows from August 3-25 which coincide with Edinburgh's International and Fringe Festivals.

Aeroplanes in flight were projected onto the castle as the event celebrated the centenary of the RAF, and poppies covered the walls as the fallen were remembered during a rendition of Amazing Grace by The Edinburgh Girls' High School from Malawi and the Mary Erskine School choir.

A cast and crew of 1200 are involved in creating the music, dance and light spectacular which included the theme from Star Wars and Mr Blue Sky.

Brigadier David Allfrey, producer and chief executive of the Tattoo, said: "You've got 27 scenes in a show of 90 minutes - you cannot help but just enjoy this.

"It's live music on a fantastic scale, backed up with some astonishing technology and a castle 400 years old.

"It's a really traditional genre, with the military at its heart, but it's also about celebrating society and culture and the links with the military.

"There's talent everywhere and we just try and seek it out and bring it here. And with our own armed forces and those of our allies, the mix is just fantastic."

International performers this year include the Royal Cavalry of the Sultanate of Oman's Pipers on horseback and its all-female marching band, plus Mariachi music from the Banda Monumental de Mexico.

More than 14 million people have attended the Tattoo since it began in 1950, with 48 countries now represented at the event.

It was set up and run for charitable purposes and, over the years, has gifted around £8m to service and civilian organisations.

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