Beating Retreat

The Boys' Brigade - Edinburgh Leith & District Battalion present



Brigade Bands from across Scotland will join together to perform a Beating Retreat ceremony at Edinburgh Castle on


Participants include:  Massed Pipes & Drums; 3rd Johnstone Brigade Band and Central Band of The Boys’ Brigade. 

Programme:  Concert, Parliament Square - 6.30pm; March to Castle - 7.00pm; Retreat Ceremony, Castle Esplanade (Edinburgh) - 7.30pm. 


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The Battalion has held events on the Esplanade of Edinburgh Castle since 1937.

In 1937 it was decided to hold the competition for pipe band trophies on the Esplanade of the Castle by courtesy of the military authorities.  Some 5,000 spectators attended.

At the conclusion of the bands competition at the Castle in 1957 the Battalion was invited to play Retreat on the Esplanade.  This was the first occasion that a non-military band was accorded the privilege.  Beating Retreat has become a regular feature of the annual programme.

This recognition was further enhanced when the Battalion was invited to take part in the Edinburgh Military Tattoo during the Edinburgh Festival of 1983, the year of the Centenary of the Foundation of the BB movement.   The Battalion have again played at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in 1986, 1991 and 1992. 

Beating the Retreat is a military ceremony dating back to the 16th century when drums were used as signals in the battlefields.  It was the cue for troops to retreat from battle as light faded.

(adapted from Pill Box & Service Cap – JB Barclay, 1985)

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