The cat’s out of the bag: the Netherlands’ Best Kept Secret

Hidden deep in the Netherlands, you might be lucky enough to find Best Kept Secret festival tucked away in the idyllic village of Hilvarenbeek. The festival takes place between 8th-10th of June, and despite its modest size year after year it’s line up is yet to falter. In 2017 BKS hosted a uniquely intimate Radiohead set, complimented by bands like Arcade Fire, Thundercat and Real Estate. 2016 was no different, with dreamy sets by Beach House, Explosions in the Sky and Wild Nothing, we can see why Best Kept Secret has been nominated twice at the European Festival Awards.
Although known for their inclination towards indie bands, in 2018 Best Kept Secret have booked some of the biggest names in alternative rap. Both Tyler, The Creator and The Internet are gracing Holland with their unmistakable sound — and if you wanted to catch Tyler this summer, you’re going to have to venture out of the UK. BKS is one of only eleven festivals on his circuit, five of which are across the pond, so this is kind of a big deal.
As well as the huge names of Arctic Monkeys, LCD Soundsystem and Slowdive, Best Kept Secret seems to provide a great international platform for emerging artists. Rising stars like Pitou — this generations answer to Joni Mitchell — and Umfang — abstract techno DJ and cofounder of NYC female-first music agency Discwoman —won’t want to be missed this June. At the top of my list are Khurangbin, Tyler, The Creator, Warpaint and Gus Dapperton.

But theres more than one type of line-up at BKS. Since its creation in 2013, BKS boasts of their very own ‘food line-up’. Yep, you heard. The festival seems to pair a commitment to diversity and sustainability with an appreciation for the greasy classics. From vegans to carnivores and everything in between, BKS promises that allergies and dietary requirements are fully considered throughout their fifty food trucks. However the festival works hard to keep food playful, spontaneous and fun. They insist on a hands on, creative approach to cuisine — giving punters the opportunity to ‘pick fresh fruit from the greenhouse and make your own super healthy juice or toss a hand-picked slab of meat on the barbecue.’
Best Kept Secret seems to be all about balance. From the big names to the emerging artists, the healthy greens and dirty burgers, the enchanting forests and impressive stages; even the lake in Beekse Bergen safari park means the festival site is perfectly poised between land and water.
Expertise seems to ooze from the Netherland’s Best Kept Secret. The festival’s founder describes his creation as being based on “something that we’d like to go to ourselves” — there is a sense of authenticity, community and a genuine knowledge of how to throw a good party. I’m looking forward to this one, because I’m not sure how much longer it’ll stay quiet.
Leah Dolan