For more than two decades the Virginia Arts Festival’s Virginia International Tattoo has brought a spirit of patriotism, pride, and friendship to Hampton Roads. It is an enormous annual undertaking which hit a roadblock in 2020 when Covid-19 restrictions made presenting a live Virginia International Tattoo impossible.
“We heard from so many disappointed Tattoo fans—many of whom had attended every year,” said the Festival’s Perry Artistic Director Robert W. Cross of the 2020 cancelation. “So we are thrilled to announce that we will be presenting the Virginia International Tattoo again this spring.”
The 2021 Virginia International Tattoo will take place outdoors, with five public performances scheduled June 3-6 at Old Dominion University’s Kornblau Field at S. B. Ballard Stadium.
Some of the world’s great Tattoos take place outdoors, including the legendary Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Scotland. “We’re excited about taking the Tattoo outdoors,” said the show’s producer, Scott Jackson. “The sight of bands marching with precision across the field…the massed pipes and drums in their colorful tartans…flags waving and the fans rising to their feet to sing their favorite service songs—it’s once again going to be a goosebump-inducing experience.”
“Old Dominion University is excited to host the 2021 Virginia International Tattoo for the first time in the newly renovated S.B. Ballard Stadium," said ODU Spokesperson Giovanna Genard. "We look forward to partnering with Virginia Arts Festival to continue the tradition of this event in the 757 in a new and unique way outdoors while celebrating diversity, music, military, and the arts.”
Every year, the Virginia International Tattoo is a joyful celebration—but this year’s Tattoo offers powerful new reasons to rejoice. Marking the nation’s—and the world’s—emergence from a devastating pandemic, the 2021 Virginia International Tattoo will celebrate the power of the human spirit, with inspiring performances including:
• The finest bands and drill teams of the U.S. Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps
• Bagpipers and drummers from throughout the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom (international performers subject to travel ability)
• Chicago Wheel Jam—daring acrobatics performed inside a steel wheel
• U.S. Marine Corps FAST Company—heart-stopping feats of dexterity and strength
• Old Dominion University Band and Drumline—high-stepping performers to an irresistible beat
• The soaring voices of Virginia Children’s Chorus and Virginia Symphony Orchestra Chorus
• And much more!
The show will include a salute to the heroes of the Greatest Generation – our WWII Veterans - which had been planned for the 2020 Tattoo. Plans are underway for a fireworks finale and more spectacular additions made possible by the transfer to an outdoor venue.
The five performances will include a 10:30am matinee on Friday, June 4, which will allow schools from throughout the region and nationally to once again bring their students to experience a lesson in history, patriotism, and musicianship. And one of the most remarkable Virginia International Tattoo traditions continue: Special Audience Night, where children with special needs and their families will be invited to attend the final dress rehearsal for free.
The 2021 Virginia International Tattoo will closely adhere to the most up-to-date CDC safeguards, with information on those as well as parking, dining, and accessibility available on the Virginia Arts Festival website. Tickets for the Tattoo are available online at vafest.org or by phone through the Virginia Arts Festival Ticket Office at 757-282-2822. Discounts available for groups of 10+ by calling 757-282-2819.
A list of performers and performance details are below.
Virginia International Tattoo
Old Dominion University’s Kornblau Field at S. B. Ballard Stadium
Thursday, June 3, 7:30pm
Friday, June 4, 10:30am
Friday, June 4, 7:30pm
Saturday, June 5, 7:30pm
Sunday, June 6, 2:30pm
Performances will take place rain or shine.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
• Chicago Wheel JAM
• Granby High School Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps
• Old Dominion University Monarch Marching Band
• Old Dominion University Drumline
• U.S. Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team
• U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Band
• U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve Band
• U.S. Marine Corps FAST Company
• Virginia Children’s Chorus
• Virginia Symphony Orchestra Chorus
PIPES, DRUMS & DANCERS
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:
• Appalachian Piping Academy Pipes and Drums
• Camden County Emerald Society Pipes and Drums
• Tidewater Pipes and Drums
• Virginia International Tattoo Highland Dance Team
• Royal Canadian Air Force Pipes and Drums (Tentative)
• Pipes and Drums of the Highlanders, 4th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland (Tentative)
• Headquarters Supreme Allied Command Transformation Multi-National Ceremonial Detail, NATO
*Artists subject to change.
About the Virginia Arts Festival
Since 1997, the Virginia Arts Festival has transformed the cultural scene in southeastern Virginia, presenting great performers from around the world to local audiences and making this historic, recreation-rich region a cultural destination for visitors from across the United States and around the world. The Festival has presented numerous U.S. and regional premieres, and regularly commissions new works of music, dance, and theater from some of today’s most influential composers, choreographers and playwrights. The Festival’s arts education programs reach tens of thousands of area schoolchildren each year through student matinees, in-school performances, artists’ residencies, master classes and demonstrations. The Virginia International Tattoo is a signature event of the Virginia Arts Festival, and has welcomed hundreds of thousands of fans since 1997.