Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content City kicks in tourism tax dollars to launch musical 'tattoo' event in Colorado Springs

By Ned Hunter Updated: March 21, 2014 at 1:41 pm

It is called The Colorado International Tattoo.

But it has nothing to do with putting ink on body parts.

The Tattoo is a military musical event that's coming to Colorado Springs - with help from tourism taxes - and organizers and backers estimate it will bring in about $14 million in tourist dollars and create 100 new jobs in the city over the next three years.

The first event will be held Sept. 26-27 at the World Arena, organizers announced Thursday. It will feature military performers from around the world, as well as civilian groups that will appear in bands, choirs, bagpipe groups and other ensembles, said producer Joe Poch.

The city's Lodgers & Automobile Rental Tax (LART) Advisory Committee gave Poch $75,000 from collected taxes to help start his event. The tax is levied people who stay in the city's hotels or rent automobiles.

LART committee chair Jan Martin said she believes the event will live up to Poch's expectations.

"I just happened to be in Edinburgh, Scotland, one year, which has the International Tattoo event there, and it is huge," she said.

Doug Price, president of the Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau, said Thursday he could not comment on the event because he had just received word that it was coming.

Poch said he got the idea of bringing a military tattooing to Colorado Springs after attending a similar event in Norfolk, Va.

"And I wondered why it was so popular there," he said. "Then I realized it is 'cause they are surrounded by military. Well, so are we."

The event and the word tattooing comes form the Dutch phrase: "Doe den tap toe." ("toe" pronounced "too.") It was the last orders of each day by the Dutch military issued by a bugler that essentially meant last call, Poch said.

"It translates to 'shut off the taps,'" he said, "A Dutch commander would send a bugler and commander to play and signaled the bars to quit pouring beer."

Poch used standard tourist revenue numbers to forecast the three-year economic impact. Those numbers include attendance of an estimated 12,000 people, each spending $62.25 to $103.86 a day, depending on whether they are locals or from out of town.

Poch has lined up a three-year commitment, but hopes to make it an annual event.

. Martin said the city will be able to judge the success of the Colorado International Tattoo by the amount of LART revenue collected over the two days of the event.

"If we can increase that money, it will tell us we have increased tourism, since that is where the money comes from," Martin said.

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Contact Ned Hunter: 636-0275

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