top of page
  • Writer's pictureDeborah Kade

We went to the tattoo in Avenches

Updated: Sep 4, 2022

When people hear the word tattoo, they think of a mark, figure, design, or word intentionally fixed or placed on the skin. However, there is another definition for tattoo: outdoor military exercise given by troops as evening entertainment or an entertainment consisting of music, marching, and the performance of displays and exercises by military personnel.

I have waited a few years to attend the Avenches Tattoo. I attended the one in 2018, just before Covid struck. I'm so excited!!! My ticket from 2019 is still good. Periodically over the last couple years, I would get an email from the tattoo committee asking if I wanted a refund or if I would be using it this year. My seat was in section B while Michael was in section D. The lady who checked tickets in section B felt bad we were separated so she went to section D; got Michael's chair, and brought it over to section B.

Decided to go to Murten for a late lunch before heading to Avenches for the tattoo. Avenches is a 7 minute train ride from Murten. If course, A trip to Murten wouldn't be complete without a stop at the Anatolia Restaurant, a favorite restaurant of ours. Started with a lettuce salad with pomegranate seeds and pomegranate dressing.

Bread was hot out of the oven.

Michael and I both had the perch from the lake with a lemon butter sauce and salted yellow potatoes.

We also had a bottle of Vully which compliments the food.

We couldn't come up with adjectives to describe this delicious meal. We learned Eyup wasn't working until 5 PM. Michael sent him a text saying we were sorry we missed him. A minute later he responded to say he would be over to say a quick hello in two minutes. Finally got to hold his precious son, Kîyan. Kîyan has the most beautiful eyes and long curly eyelashes.

Daddy loves his little boy! Eyup said having a child has changed his life. He is ecstatic. Eyup has 7 sisters and no brothers. All the sisters have girls except for one whom also has a boy.

Murten is located in region that is referred to as the breadbasket of Switzerland. Crops are grown in the open fields as well as in greenhouses. From the train I could see the following growing: red and green lettuce, leeks, cabbage, sugar beets, carrots, sunflowers for their seeds, tomatoes (grown in greenhouses),potatoes, Swiss chard, rhubarb, beans, beets, and onions.

You also see acres of cow corn.

In the fields you also see cows, sheep, and deer grazing. There are many acres of grass for hay.

"The Avenches Tattoo is held in the magical Avenches Roman Arena. The amphitheater dates from the early 2nd century A.D. It offers an exclusive setting for cultural and musical performances. Near Lake Morat, Avenches retains the vestiges of its glorious past as the capital of Roman Helvetica. The most impressive testament to its history is undoubtedly the Roman amphitheater. Magnificently preserved, this historic setting with its splendid acoustics is the ideal venue for music festivals."

The arena has a 5,000 seat capacity and there is a perfect view of the show from each and every seat. The acoustics are also superb, no matter where you are seated.

The 16th edition will be held for the last time in the arenas of Avenches from September 1st to 3rd. For the next few years, the event will migrate to the Swiss National Stud.

Seating in the arena is interesting. Some people were sitting on stone; others on wood slats placed over stone or dirt; others were on plastic seats, while we were in the VIP section sitting on padded chairs.

The performances take place rain or shine. It is nice to sit in the VIP section as you are protected from the sun and rain.

We also were served a slice of ham and cheese in a small roll, a croissant, and a piece of quiche. To drink, we had a choice of white, red or rosé wine. You could also have sparkling or still water (water without bubbles).

Military Tattoos are commonplace in the north of Europe and becoming increasingly popular in Switzerland. The only event of its type in French-speaking Switzerland, the Avenches Tattoo brings together nearly 500 musicians – military and civil – from all over Europe. The invited high quality musical and choreographic marching bands put on spectacular shows. Whether it is popular or modern melodies, the musicians, who are truly virtuosos of their art, are gifted in producing an exceptionally colorful show full of phenomenal, precise movements and figures."

This is how the Avenches Tattoo organization describes this year's tattoo.

"This international music festival has been clearly ranked the 2nd largest event of its kind in Switzerland. Basel has the largest event. It is the only Tattoo that takes place in French speaking Switzerland. The invited high quality musical and choreographic marching bands put on a spectacular show that make the arena pulsate with incredible sound and arouse the audience’s enthusiasm."

This year, the theme of the Avenches Tattoo military band festival is “United Colors of Music”, referring to the many colors of music, diversity and cultural wealth. Instead of a guest of honor, the theme "United Colors of Music" will be in the foreground at the 16th edition of the Avenches Tattoo.

There were performances on Thursday and Friday evening with two today: one at 5 and another at 9. I would love to attend the later performance, but it is too difficult to get the train connections back to Interlaken West .

The program lasted 2 hours and 10 minutes.

This year's participants include:

Lisa Stoll

She is a 26 year of Alphorn virtuoso. . We have heard her play a few years ago at the Wegen Cheese Festival. Men and women whom have been playing the alpen horn for many years just marvel at her talent. Happy to see the tradition of the alpen horn continue. She is quite amazing!!! Michael follows her on Instagram and Facebook.

"Lisa Stoll's, who was born in 1996, musical career began at the age of 6 with playing the recorder. Two years later she takes up the cornet and with that begins her great passion for brass band music. After just two years she was playing in a music school band and at the age of 11 she came first in her category at the East Swiss Soloist Competition. Various engagements in the Trasadingen community band, the Hallau trombone choir and the Schaffhausen town hall followed.

Parallel to the cornet, Lisa discovered the alphorn at the age of 10. The sound fascinates Lisa so much that she played at a high level within a very short time.

In 2008 she won the jury prize at the 15th Swiss folklore competition for young talents with her own composition "s'Vreni vom Dorf". In 2009, at the age of 13, she celebrated great success with the classic program "des Mädchens Wunderhorn" under the direction of Paul W. Taylor (alphorn and string orchestra). In September 2009, she took part in the Musikantenstadl's young talent competition with Carlo Brunner's composition “Dance of the Cows”. She makes it to 1st place and thus takes part in the final in the Silvesterstadl. Here she wins and takes home the young talent award "Stadlstern 2009".

Lisa produces her first own CD with Carlo Brunner and Alex Eugster. In January 2010, her first CD "Alphornliebe" was released and in July 2011 the second CD "Alphornflirt". In the spring of 2013, she was a guest musician on the CD "vo Berg und Tal" by Florian & Seppli. In autumn 2015, her third solo CD "Urchig" and in January 2016 her 4th solo CD "Alphorn Perlen" were released. In 2018, the fifth solo CD "Gipfelstürmer" followed, on which she again presented herself in a folksy and very virtuoso way together with Carlo Brunner's Superländler band.

National and international appearances

"Musikantenstadl, Starnacht Interlaken, Winteropenair Bad Kleinkirchheim, Donauinselfest Wien, Openair Heitere, Openair Flumserberg, Heirassa Festival Weggis, Basel Tattoo, Aeschbacher, Benissimo, Samschtig Jass, Hopp dä Bäse, Zogge-n-am Bogä, Schlagersommer, SF-bi-dä Lüt, Potzmusig, Viva folk music, performances in Dubai, Kuwait, London, China, Moscow, Japan, Florida, etc., performances in major concert halls such as the KKL Lucerne, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam or the Berlin Philharmonic.

Countless concerts as a soloist and with wind orchestra, string orchestra, symphony orchestra, organ, harp, Carlo Brunner's Superländlerkapelle, Nicolas Senn, Swiss Army Brass Band, Swiss Army Central Band, Willi Valotti's Wyberkapelle, Engadiner Ländlerfründe, Thomas Biasotto Big Band, Camerata Switzerland, Police Music Zurich- city ​​etc."

Suzuki Switzerland sponsors Lisa, and she drives all over Switzerland in her new S-Cross.

Quite effective she played on the hillside instead of in the arena.

Lisa is also the Switzerland's 1st Radish Princess. "As Radish Princess, I see myself not only as an ambassador for any vegetable, but also as an ambassador for a Swiss vegetable, as an ambassador for regional products from sustainable cultivation, but also as a representative of all vegetable producers who put their heart and soul into it every day, so that the shelves are filled in the stores."

"I grew up on a farm, always liked to help out at home and know how much hard work and sweat it takes to get the food on the table. I think our producers and their products deserve great appreciation!

Many thanks to Gebrüder Meier Gemüsekkulturen AG for choosing me as the first Swiss radish princess. I am very much looking forward to my position!"

Musical Unit of the Spanish Royal Guard

"The Musical Unit of the Spanish Royal Guard is the official music service of the Spanish Royal Guard of the Spanish Armed Forces that is dedicated to providing ceremonial honors and music to the King of Spain, the Spanish Royal Family, and public officials. The musical unit is one of many battalion sized units in the regiment, with over 100 professional musicians in its ranks who are chosen from the non-commissioned officers of the Military Music Corps. It is one of the more senior and representative bands in the Spanish Armed Forces with its repertoire covering a wide range of Army, Navy and Air Force music. The entire unit is currently under the baton of the conductor of the Military Band of the Royal Guard, Colonel Musician Enrique Damián Blasco Cebolla."

US Naval Forces Europe and Africa Band

"The NAVEUR-NAVAF Band is the U.S. Navy’s official band in Europe and is stationed in Naples, Italy. The Band reaches a combined audience of more than 60 million people throughout over 35 countries in the course of more than 500 engagements annually. Uniquely, the NAVEUR-NAVAF Band is comprised of active duty U.S. Navy musicians and augmented by service musicians from Italy who unite to fashion dynamic specialty units.

The U.S. shares a common interest with African partner nations in ensuring security, safety, and freedom of navigation on the waters surrounding the continent, because these waters are critical for Africa’s prosperity and access to global markets.

For over 70 years, U.S. Sixth Fleet forces have forged strategic relationships with our allies and partners and solidified a foundation of shared values, experiences, and vision aimed at preserving security and stability.

U.S. Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa."

The French Artillery Band


Massed Pipes and Drums

Edinburgh, Scotland

They played before the tattoo started for people who were sitting and eating.

The leader

He started Amazing Grace. People around us singing in different languages. Quite amazing to hear.

Majesticks Drum Corps


"Organized in June 2011, the drum group Majesticks quickly made a name for itself by organizing the first Drum Show in 2011 at Landeron. This first show marks the beginning of an incredible evolution for the group. Indeed, in 2013 Majesticks had the chance to perform in the arenas of Avenches in front of the 20,000 spectators of Avenches Tattoo. The success was there with a conquered and fascinated public, allowing the group to export its talents beyond national borders with performances in various events in Germany, France, Malta and Liechtenstein. Wishing to share its passion, the Majesticks Drum Corps organizes in 2015 the first Neuchâtel Drum Show integrating many Swiss drum and percussion groups. It will repeat the experience in 2017 and will also take over the arenas for Avenches Tattoo in 2015 and 2018. In another register, the group had the opportunity to share the stage of the Stravinski auditorium in Montreux with the artist Phanee de Pool in 2021, then, in 2022, to create a cover of Imagine Dragons for the Swiss Covers of Option Musique. In 11 years of existence, Majesticks Drum Corps has had the opportunity to play in many events and concerts, offering spectacular and extremely varied performances.”

Swiss Army Conscript Drum Corps 16-2/2022

Swiss Army Big Band

The band played before the tattoo began.

Zürich City Police Band

The local police band was established in 1902 and currently has 76 members. The amateur band plays light music and aims to foster good relations between the police and local residents and to "give members an alternative to the hectic pace of daily life."

Rijnmondband Schiedam


They put on a show of "Capture the Flag"

Then they became one. Interesting how the uniform changed.

The general accepted the salute from the military bands.

Groupe Vocal Chabada

The group was founded in 2012

Cent pour Cent de la Fête des Vignerons 2019


The Fête des Vignerons pays homage to the century-old wine-growing traditions of an entire region, with an extraordinary show celebrating the coronation of winegrowers. This celebration, unique in the world, takes place once per generation in Vevey, a town located in the heart of the Lavaux wine region, in Switzerland. The last edition of this event took place in July 2019, 20 years after the previous one. It is the first living Swiss tradition to have been recognized as an intangible heritage by UNESCO.

All the bands and other participants gathered together for the finale.

As Avenches was the first Roman settlement in Switzerland and we are in a Roman amphitheater, it is not surprising to see a Roman chariot.

The Roman amphitheater will close its doors for extensive renovation work from 2023. The organizers of the Avenches Tattoo have worked to ensure that the international music festival remains in Avenches. "We are proud and delighted to be able to announce an agreement with the Swiss National Stud for the next few years," the statement reads.

This arena will be closed for five years due to major renovations. The organizers announce that they have "worked hard to ensure the sustainability of the festival in Avenchoises". The aim is to secure the music festival in the long term. An arena with 4000 seats will be set up for the outdoor event. The organizers will announce further information about the new location in early 2023.

The objective is to highlight two living traditions of the region's heritage: music and the world of horses.

65 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page