NORFOLK — Organizers from Virginia Arts are steadily working on the Virginia Arts Festival’s 23rd Annual International Tattoo, which will run from April 25-28 at the Scope Arena.
Despite the event being the same weekend as Pharrell Williams’ “Something in the Water,” festival organizers aren’t concerned about participation, said Robert Cross, executive and artistic director of the Virginia Arts Festival.
The Tattoo is an international military band performance that incorporates music, parade, and patriotism, and this year will feature military representatives and musicians from eight countries. It has become the signature event of the Virginia Arts Festival.
More than 40 percent of ticket buyers for the event come from outside of Hampton Roads and ticket sales begin pretty far out, he said.
“Most people who are going have already bought their tickets and booked their hotels,” he said.
Virginia Arts is expecting around 35,000-40,000 people to attend this year’s event and the theme, “A Salute to Women in the Military,” has garnered much excitement, Cross said.
It will include speeches and performances from the founder of the Women’s Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., the first female officer to command the U.S. Army Drill Team, and the woman who challenged the Army’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on homosexuals in the military.
“There is a larger interest than usual in the non-military community this year for the tattoo,” he said. “People have really responded to the theme in a positive way.”
Since there will be thousands of people descending upon the Oceanfront for the festival, where the tattoo-goers have historically booked hotels, Cross said Virginia Arts is making sure people know where to go.
Maneuvering people from the Oceanfront to the city’s downtown area will take careful planning on the city’s part and Virginia Arts has been closely working with them to make sure all goes smoothly.
“This is one of the biggest events in the region and we’ve being doing it for a while now, we’re a well-oiled machine at this point,” he said.
He does encourage attendees who have booked their stay on the Oceanfront to leave extra time to drive to and from the event so as to not get caught up in Something in the Water traffic.
To learn more about this year’s lineup, click here.