FIFE & DRUM INVITATIONAL TATTOO

The Boston Tea Party Junior Fife & Drum Invitational Tattoo kicks off a month long celebration of the Boston Tea Party!

Presented by the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, the tattoo is a fife and drum competition featuring junior fife and drum corps from across the region. Hear historical songs along the very same waters where the Boston Tea Party occurred 241 years ago! The event will be emceed by legendary Boston radio icon Jordan Rich and a panel of judges will adjudicate the competition.

The word “tattoo” comes from the Dutch. In the 17th century military commanders ordered the beer taps to be turned off at night with the command “Doe den tap toe!” (“Turn off the taps!”). This signal was usually played by a drummer or a piper. The Dutch phrase “tap toe” became the English word “tattoo”. Over time, tattoo became a synonym for the corresponding music festivals.

Why November 29th?

On November 29th, 1773, the Dartmouth, first of three Boston bound vessels arrived outside Boston Harbor carrying East India Company tea. This tea would undersell the colonial market driving out local business and give the East India Company a monopoly in America. The arrival of the first vessel would prompt a series of tense town meetings and a 20 day countdown to the inevitable unloading of the tea. This “tea crisis” coupled with the lack of colonial representation would light the fuse for revolution and lead to the Boston Tea Party on December 16th, 1773.

fife and drums event information
atlantic wharf waterfront