One of the largest annual indoor shows of its type on earth returns to Halifax this summer, but will look much different.

The 2021 Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo‘s theme is “The Spirit of Nova Scotia Virtual World Tour.”

“We thought it would be a great time to celebrate all things Nova Scotian, considering we can’t have international talent participating in the show in person this year,” says Scott Long, managing director and executive producer. “I think there is a lot for us to commemorate, celebrate and honour past, present, and future. We have a tremendous amount of talent in Nova Scotia, so why not highlight it this year?”

Due to pandemic restrictions, the Tattoo will be online only.

“We were hoping to do a hybrid show and still be able to have a pared-down but an in-person show in the Scotiabank Centre, but we’re just not able to do that right now because there are just too many uncertainties,” Long says. “We never thought in a million years that we would be back to making this decision again a year later. It’s disappointing, but we’re going to stay focused on putting together a really exciting virtual show and really digging in and planning aggressively for a spectacular live show at Scotiabank Centre in 2022.”

For 2021, the Tattoo will work with tech company Side Door to record performances. Those performances will be the basis of an international virtual tour, live-streamed shows in selected areas worldwide (with streams only available based on the user’s location).

“There’s still a sense of exclusivity and scarcity rather than demand of the show,” Long says. “We want to present it as an exciting offer that you need to sign up for it, to check it out and to take advantage of it. We want to be able to bring it across Canada and some other markets in Europe and the United States as well.”

Organizers plan to announce dates, ticket info, and performers in the next few weeks.

Combining civilian and military acts from around the world, the Tattoo has become a big part of Nova Scotia’s cultural fabric..

“During pre-pandemic times before we found ourselves in this crisis that we’re in, the Tattoo brings a lot of people downtown into restaurants and to other attractions, not only locally, but people that would travel here from across the country and from the United States and overseas as well,” Long says. “It’s a large event—one of the largest events of its kind in the world—and we’re one of the largest music events in this area … We can’t wait to get back to a more normal environment so we can take full advantage of the potential the Tattoo has, not only as a form of entertainment but also as an economic driver for the province.”

Long hopes to help people who can’t currently visit the province stay connected.

“They’ll get a deeper appreciation of Nova Scotia,” he says. “That’s really what the theme is about this year, and hopefully our audiences outside of Nova Scotia will get a better look into the province. We also would like to be able to engage expat Nova Scotians who live in other parts of the world and aren’t able to get home this summer or haven’t been able to get home for a long time due to restrictions surrounding the pandemic. We want to put together a show that will make people feel like they’ve come to Nova Scotia for the night, even though that is not possible at this time.”

Halifax Magazine