The Edinburgh Military Tattoo is the annual military parade taking place at Edinburgh Castle as part of Edinburgh Festival. On average 217,000 people flock annually to watch the military parade and all tickets sell out in advance.
In the 18th century when the British Army units were stationed in Flanders during the War of the Austrian Succession, drummers were sent out in towns each night to “Beat Retreat”, summoning the soldiers to the barracks.
The first official Military Tattoo took place in 1950 with only 8 items in the program. In 1952, the first overseas regiment -Band of the Royal Netherlands Grenadiers- participated in the parade. The same year, France and Canada also had participants in the parade. So far, over 30 countries have been represented in the parade.
The highlight of the festival is the pipes of drums, provided by the regiments of British Army as well as regiments from around the world with Scottish connections. In 2005 the parade saw the largest gathering of pipes and drums.
On average, 30% of the audience is from Scotland, 35% from the rest of the United Kingdom and 35% (about 70,000 visitors) represent the visitors overseas. Around the world, as many as 100 million people see the event on television.
Military Tattoo in 2008
In 2008, the parade takes place between Aug 1st and 23rd. Performances are held from Monday to Friday at 9 PM and on Saturdays at 7:30 PM and 10:30 PM. Ticket prices range from £16.00/person on weekdays and £25.00/person on Saturdays. Tickets can be bought online on the official Military Tattoo site.
The event is run for charitable causes. However, it also generates very good income for the city annually.