Jason Barrett Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo appoints new CEO

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo has appointed Jason Barrett as its new CEO as the world-renowned spectacle looks ahead to an exciting future.

Barrett steps up from his role as chief operating officer, having originally joined the Tattoo three years ago, and takes over from Major General Buster Howes, who stood down following this August’s show, Stories.

Originally from Colorado, Barrett has the military in his blood, having served for both the US and UK militaries. He served for 20 years as an infantry officer in the United States Marine Corps, where he held leadership positions involved in high-level strategic planning and on active service with the UK Royal Marines. Barrett retired from the Marine Corps as Lieutenant Colonel in 2010 having led more than 1,000 marines with $150 million in assets.

He then spent more than 10 years in the hospitality industry, holding various chief executive and management roles, before joining the Tattoo and using this experience to help shape the organisation’s 10-year plan, alongside senior management colleagues.

Barrett takes the reins as CEO at an incredibly exciting time in the Tattoo’s history, following a hugely successful run this summer, with planning well underway for next year’s show, Journeys, and its 75th anniversary on the horizon in 2025.

Bill Morris, chair of the Tattoo Board at the Tattoo, said: “I’d like to thank Buster for all his efforts in guiding the Tattoo brilliantly through unprecedented challenges with the global pandemic. We’re immensely grateful for his huge contribution to bring the iconic Show back to the Castle Esplanade, rejuvenated and stronger than ever.

“As we look to the future, we are thrilled to welcome Jason as CEO. The role of CEO of the Tattoo is unique but with his mix of military and business experience, it’s the perfect fit for him.

“He’s an incredibly passionate individual, super-proud of the rich culture in his adopted Scottish home and I’m excited to see him drive the business forward. Having been a huge part of our team for three years already, he understands the inner workings of the Tattoo which will help him hit the ground running and he’s well-respected by all, with a proven track record of business leadership, strategic thinking and a commercial focus.”

Barrett’s appointment comes following a very successful 2023 for the Tattoo, with over 200,000 attendees on the Edinburgh Castle Esplanade across August, as crowds were taken on a musical and cultural journey of spectacular showcases with performers from Norway, The United States, Switzerland and Trinidad & Tobago, alongside homegrown talent from the UK at the centre of it all.

Barrett said: “It’s a huge honour to be appointed as CEO and I’m excited to continue to work closely with such an incredibly talented team as we unlock the full potential of the Tattoo.

“My relationship with this wonderful country has lasted over 26 years as my wife is from Linlithgow. This, coupled with my wartime service with the British Forces, amounts to a special bond with Scotland, the British Military and the Tattoo. I am humbled to be charged with helping carry this great institution forward.

“Creativity is key for me not only in how we deliver a spectacular show, but also in our thinking as a brand and as a business which runs year-round. Investing in our bright future will help people achieve great things.

“A huge part of this is of course our status as a charity and ambition to increase our charitable donations as well as ensuring we have a best-in-class customer experience for fans who travel from across the globe to see the Tattoo.

“Buster led us brilliantly post-Covid, which puts us in a strong position to build the Tattoo. We want to continue to wow audiences not only in Edinburgh but also internationally, with our ambitions to tour and spread the magic of the Tattoo.”

With planning for the 2024 Show Journeys well underway, The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is expecting another strong turnout, after the 2023 show, Stories, was at almost 97 per cent capacity with 23 out of the 26 Shows sold out.

Journeys will transport audiences on an international cultural journey, bringing together the voices and stories that connect the worldwide company of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. With the Royal Navy taking on the role of lead service, the show will take crowds on a journey through time, celebrating the tides of change. Returning to the Case Esplanade will be Tattoo favourites, from the Massed Pipes and Drums to the emotive Lone Piper, alongside the culture and vibrance of an international cast.