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Virginia International Tattoo: Insider Tips to Showcase Your Band Banner Image

Virginia International Tattoo: Insider Tips to Showcase Your Band

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by Rhoda Venture
Performance TripUncategorized

Does the sound of a drum corps put a spring in your step? Do you shiver with delight when you hear the strains of a bagpipe? Will Celtic dancing get your toes tapping? Virginia International Tattoo is a feast for the eyes and ears – and we have the insider tips to showcase your band!

Virginia International Tattoo

Each spring, Norfolk, Virginia welcomes military bands, massed pipes and drums, drill teams, Celtic dancers and choirs from around the world to participate in the Virginia International Tattoo. Jaw-dropping performances at the Scope Arena will leave you breathless, inspired and waiting for the next spectacular display.

Virginia International Tattoo Insider Tips

Tattoo began in 1997 as the signature event of the Virginia Arts Festival. It’s now the 3rd largest international tattoo in the world with more than 1,000 cast members.

The magnitude of performance is unmatched for its energy and patriotism, and it culminates in an international collaboration of showmanship that will leave you speechless.

Virginia International Music Festival

Bands, choirs, and instrumental groups are invited to compete in the prestigious Virginia International Music Festival adjudicated events. Each group receives written and digitally recorded comments from nationally recognized adjudicators.

Virginia International Tattoo Insider Tips

The Motivational Awards Ceremony will follow at Chrysler Hall.

Norfolk NATO Festival Parade of Nations

High school marching bands can participate in the optional Norfolk NATO Festival Parade of Nations on Saturday. Featuring more than 100 units representing each of the 29 NATO member nations, it’s the only parade in the U.S. that honors NATO.

Virginia International Tattoo Insider Tips

The Motivational Awards Ceremony will take place following the parade at Chrysler Hall.

There are also a series of high energy events throughout the weekend, including a Drum Line Battle, American Pipe Band Championship, and Hullabaloo. It’s thrilling to be part of this international community of musicians and something every student should experience!

Other Virginia Arts Festival Options for Student Groups

If you can’t make it to Tattoo, the Virginia Arts Festival runs from March through June throughout Coastal Virginia and offers a variety of options for student groups.

  • Masterclasses and workshops
  • Discussions with artists and directors
  • Behind-the-scenes immersive learning experiences
  • Customized pre-performance opportunities
  • Meet and greets

Plenty of Performance Venues

No matter when you plan your student trip to Coastal Virginia, you’ll have plenty of performance venues to pick from.  Check out a few of our favorites!

Virginia International Tattoo performance venues

Epic Educational Opportunities

Make the most of your time in Virginia Beach and Norfolk and add these amazing attractions to the itinerary.  Most offer educational programs that check all your trip boxes!

Cape Henry Lighthouse

The Cape Henry Lighthouse is a standing history lesson.  Authorized by George Washington and supervised by Alexander Hamilton, the lighthouse is located near the “First Landing” where the first English settlers landed on their way to Jamestown.

Virginia International Tattoo Insider Tips Cape Henry Lighthouse

Take part in a “Dune Talk” or jump on an historic walking tour.  The First Landing Cross and the Battle of the Capes Monument are on the route (actually, in the smallest U.S. National Park in America!).  It’s a great way to explore 400 years of history!

Military Aviation Museum

This is one of the coolest things you’ll do! The Military Aviation Museum is one of the world’s largest private collections of vintage military aircraft. It’s also home to more than 130 acres of historical structures – including an original 1934 German hangar!

Brock Environmental Center

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Brock Environmental Center is one of the most energy-efficient, environmentally smart buildings in the world. The center has achieved the highest possible rating for the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program.

Take part in award-winning environmental education programs and outdoor learning from the best in the business.

Virginia Beach Brock Environmental Center
photo credit to Visit Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach Surf and Rescue Museum

Right on the boardwalk in the original 1903 structure stands the Virginia Beach Surf and Rescue Museum.  The museum honors the area’s maritime heritage and is a great stop for groups.  Plan a private pizza party as part of your experience or take a spirited ghost tour.

Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge

This immense wildlife refuge makes environmental education its priority.  Register your group in advance for a program at the Ashville Bridge Creek Environmental Learning Center.  Follow one of the unique learning trails or make use of the outdoor classroom.

Nauticus & Battleship Wisconsin

Situated on the waterfront of downtown Norfolk, Nauticus is an interactive maritime discovery center and home to the Battleship Wisconsin.

USS Wisconsin Virginia Beach

Explore the power of the sea and the interior of the Battleship (the largest and last battleship of the U.S. Navy’s Iowa Class.) Guided tours and an onsite café are available, as well as performance opportunities.

Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center

The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center is literally 800,000 gallons of aquatic awesomeness! More than 300 hands-on exhibits, behind-the-scenes experiences, seasonal whale and dolphin watching, and a NEW building round out a great day of learning.

Virginia Aquarium

Oh – and you can perform here as well!

Fantastically Fun Activities

When it’s time to let loose and have a good time, Coastal Virginia has your group covered!

Virginia Beach

Make your trip truly sensational and add a few days of fun in the sun! Just 20 minutes due east is Virginia Beach – a great place for walks on the beach, casual beachfront lunches or breath-taking sunsets. Students love the energy and excitement of the boardwalk or playing in the waves.

Virginia Beach

The Adventure Park

Located at the Aquarium’s South Building and just steps from the boardwalk is The Adventure Park. Get your group’s adrenaline going with 17 aerial trails, 258 treetop platforms, and 33 ziplines.

It’s six levels of pure exhilaration!

Apex Entertainment Center

Apex Entertainment Center is another student favorite with more than 84,000 multi-level sq feet of thrills.

Take a ride on the indoor go-karts, challenge your mind in the escape rooms, then challenge a friend to laser tag. Go vertical on the ropes courses, go after a buddy on the bumper cars, and then get your game on at the arcade.

A full-service restaurant onsite makes big group dining easy and convenient!

Motor World

Motor World is another high-speed adventure guaranteed to get your group’s motors racing.  Here you’ll find 10 go kart tracks with 14 different styles of karts, bumper boats, and an arcade.

Ocean Breeze Waterpark

Ocean Breeze Waterpark is open seasonally and boasts more than 30 rides, slides, and attractions to make students smile.  The million-gallon wave pool might make them giddy!

Atlantic Park and Wavegarden Cove

Virginia Beach Wavegarden Cove
photo credit to Visit Virginia Beach

Atlantic Park is slated to open in 2025 and promises to be a cornerstone attraction in Virginia Beach.  Its Wavegarden Cove surf park will be the first to open in the U.S.

Doumar’s Cones & Barbecue

Hit up Doumar’s, home of the world’s first waffle cone machine. The waffle cone debuted at at the 1904 World’s Fair and Doumar’s has been serving them with homemade ice cream ever since!

Norfolk Doumar's
photo credit to Visit Norfolk

Groups get a private demonstration and a little bit of history along with their scoops.


Topgolf is a multi-level entertainment destination.  It’s part golf, part restaurant and all party!  Groups can reserve a bay for play and fabulous food – so much fun!

City Cruises Norfolk

Take a narrated lunch or dinner harbor tour of Naval Station Norfolk. City Cruises Norfolk hold up to 400 passengers and offer group rates and private events.

American Rover Sailing Cruise

For a distinctively different sailing experience, opt for an American Rover Sailing Cruise. The red-sailed schooner holds 120 passengers for a narrated daytime harbor tour April through October. Student party cruises and group rates are available.

American Rover
photo credit to Visit Norfolk

Victory Rover Naval Base Cruise

The Victory Rover takes you on a 2-hour narrated tour of the world’s largest naval base and home to the Atlantic fleet. Tours for up to 145 passengers are open March through December. Enjoy student group rates, snack bar, and optional boxed lunches.

Virginia International Tattoo: Insider Tips to Showcase Your Band

Showcasing your band at the Virginia International Tattoo should be on your band bucket list, and these insider tips will make the experience unforgettable!

One more tip… Kaleidoscope Adventures is the perfect trip planning partner!  KA has 30 years of experience planning outstanding performance travel.  Online registration and payments, convenient crowdfunding options, and an expert team make your planning simple and efficient.

We’ll work with you to plan an exceptional travel experience and provide impeccable customer service from start to finish!

Plan Your Performance Trip to Virginia International Tattoo

Why Kaleidoscope Adventures?

As a leader in the student travel industry for 30+ years, Kaleidoscope Adventures exceeds expectations for student and performance group travel.

We’ll work with you to plan an exceptional travel experience and provide impeccable customer service from start to finish

Learn More

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