The Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo is preparing to launch its 30th anniversary season in July, but the show’s artistic director said this popular event faces some unique challenges this year.

“We’ve been going for 30 years and so there is a tendency to take us for granted,” Ian Fraser said Wednesday at a media launch event.

That’s a mistake, he added, because not only is the Tattoo completely different every year, but it also brings “an incredible amount of money” to the province.


A Tattoo press release said tourists who saw the show in 2008 brought almost $53 million to the province.

Fraser is confident in the success of this year’s show, even though the Tattoo is facing the challenge of an economic recession and new passport regulations at the U.S. border. Ticket sales are going just as fast as last year, he said, and drawing new audiences remains one of their priorities.

“Frankly, if we don’t draw tourists to this province, it makes no sense for the provincial government to give us any money,” he said.

This year’s Tattoo will run at the Halifax Metro Centre from July 1 to 8. It will feature around 2,000 performers from nine countries around the world.

Audiences can look forward to seeing a fife and drum band from Massachusetts, the Tattoo’s first American performers in more than a decade. Other highlights include a police motorcycle team from Germany, an Abba-inspired fire brigade band from Sweden, and a new competition in which teams race to take apart and reassemble a jeep.

Honouring the troops currently in Afghanistan is also a priority as audience members at the July 3 performance are asked to wear red as a show of support.

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