NZ Army Band: nine days, 15 performances; 300,000 fans

23 July 2012

The NZ Army Band has played a grand finale at Switzerland’s Basel Tattoo 2012, lifting to more than 300,000 the number of people to have heard them perform in their nine days in Switzerland.

NZ Army Band
The NZ Army Band at the Basel Tattoo 2012, in Switzerland.

The Annual Basel Tattoo in Switzerland is one of the world's most prestigious gatherings of military musicians. This was the second time the NZ Army Band has been invited to perform at the event.

Director or Music, Captain Graham Hickman says that he is immensely proud of the way the NZ Army Band performed as well as the way they were received by audiences.

“We were delighted to have been able to play our part in this Basel Tattoo,” says Captain Hickman.

“These trips are challenging and physically exhausting – 15 shows, two parades, two cast and crew performances, and several appearances at VIP events, all over the course of just nine days. But being able to bring a taste of Kiwi to an international stage and being asked to represent our Army, our Defence Force, our country … well, there is nothing better than that.

“The NZ Army Band Dance Band got such a great response when we played for the cast and crew following the first Friday’s shows – they asked us back to play the closing night party. And we played well into the early hours of Sunday morning – meaning an extra-long day at the end of an already busy trip.

“Yesterday we were asked to play for the director of the Basel Tattoo, and several visiting representatives of Tattoos from around the world. This was a great opportunity to show just what this little band from New Zealand can do,” he says.

Band Drum Major, Staff Sergeant Tristan Mitchell says on Saturday the final day of the Basel Tattoo kicked off with a parade of more than 40 different acts and groups, with the NZ Army Band playing a popular part in the parade.

“This was our second street parade as part of this trip, and it was huge,” he says. “We were amazed at just how many people came out to watch.”

Close to 120,000 people lined the two-kilometre parade route – making this parade one of the most significant events that make up the nine-day Tattoo. Following the Parade, the NZ Army Band played their final two Tattoo shows to capacity crowds of nearly 8,000 spectators at each performance.


For further information please contact Matthew Boulton – Defence Communications Group, on +64 21 243 1411.

This page was last reviewed on 22 July 2012.