Local businesses have been urged to intervene to help resurrect the Highland Military Tattoo after organisers announced it is to be axed.
Inverness Provost Helen Carmichael urged companies to consider their “corporate social responsibilities” and to support the Highland Military Tattoo.
She added: “The inclusion of high quality year-round activities and events in the Inverness and the Highland tourism calendar are vital to the local economy.
“While we respect the decision of the board of directors of the Highland Military Tattoo, this is very sad news for the Highlands.”
Yesterday the tattoo organisers revealed that another event in 2018 would not go ahead primarily due to a financial shortfall, but also through staffing issues.
The cancellation comes despite the event attracting 6,174 people this year, which is up 843 on 2016 but still falls short of the 8,000 target.
Those low attendance rates, along with an anticipated increase in Ministry of Defence support costs, has left the finances too precarious to be sustainable.
Major General Seymour Monro, director of the Tattoo, said: “We would have to pay nearly twice as much, for half as much resources from the Ministry of Defence.
“It is not just financial worries but also staffing worries. We need a fairy godmother with a large cheque book plus the core team to stay who are at the end of their tethers.”
He defended the quality of the event saying: “We think it is an authentic gold standard tattoo that is right for the Highlands and right for Moray.”
The 2017 event proved the costliest, he said, adding: “We have come to the sad conclusion that it is not sustainable. Simply put, we needed more bums on seats and more sponsorship including a headline sponsor.
“I have nothing but praise for what the team have achieved. I hope that in the future it may be possible to hold a Tattoo in the Highlands again.”
General Monro concluded: “The people I feel most sorry for are the young performers who got such a kick out of it. You could see the cheerfulness in their faces – that is the sadness.”