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Virginia International Tattoo returns for 2021, will be held outdoors

The Virginia International Tattoo is heading outdoors, moving to June 3-6 at ODU’s S.B. Ballard Stadium. ⁦
Credit: Virginia Arts Festival

NORFOLK, Va. — A beloved Hampton Roads tradition is back for 2021, and this time it's outdoors! 

The Virginia International Tattoo had been a staple at Norfolk Scope since 1997, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, organizers had to cancel its live shows in 2020, instead opting for a virtual event.

It won't be back again at Scope for 2021, but instead, this year's event will be held from June 3 through 6 at Old Dominion University's Kornblau Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium.

"While the COVID-19 pandemic will place some limitations on performing, groups that are able to travel, patrons can still expect fantastic military units, highland dancers, drill teams, brilliant vocalists, and the haunting cry of the massed pipes and drums," said Tattoo producer/director Scott Jackson.

What is the tattoo? The term 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. It's now referred to as the ceremonial performance of military music by massed bands.

Tickets will be available for the 2021 show soon on the Virginia Arts Festival's website.