Best Kept Secret
Imagine a lineup where most of the bands you love and thought you won’t see any time soon are playing. Well, it’s real and it’s called Best Kept Secret (even its name makes everything better)!
We stumbled upon Best Kept Secret on its first edition when Portishead were headlining stage TWO and since then we’ve been following their progress. When they announced the first bands of the 2018 lineup we knew this is THE festival! LCD Soundsystem, Father John Misty, Spoon, Ty Segall, Future Islands… and it kept getting better and better. So let’s unfold the secret.
Special thanks to the Best Kept Secret team for believing in small, independent magazines and for accrediting us as press.
Best Kept Secret Festival takes place at Beekse Bergen Safari Park, minutes away from Tilburg. Located in the south of The Netherlands, it’s really easy to get there by car from Germany or Belgium, just follow your GPS. Parking shouldn’t be a problem either, there are large parking lots close to the camping area.
Getting to the festival by train is easy and comfortable too. The Dutch railway network connects virtually all cities and you don’t have to wait much between trains. If you plan your trip ahead, keep in mind that you can’t buy online tickets from the ns.nl website unless you have a Dutch bank account.
Once you arrive in Tilburg, you will easily find a shuttle bus, parked outside the train station, which will take you to the festival site in about 20 minutes. The return ticket will cost you 5 euros.
The perks of staying in the camping (especially in this camping)?
First of all, this place is a safari park – though no matter how fun it sounds, we hope they counted all the lions and tigers really well before moving them. The camping site is huge and you can set up your tent wherever you want. The showers and toilets are very clean and private and you can also find tap water all over the camping and in the festival site too. The camping is surprisingly quiet at night and you can get a good rest.
If you play your cards right and you find the perfect spot… Well, not only will you get to wake up next to the lake and feel the tender, soft sunshine on your face (perfect temperature, no humidity), but you will also get to listen to LCD Soundsystem and Father John Misty rehearsing and honestly who wouldn’t want a double portion of that?
There is also a SPAR market from where you can buy snacks, pastry, sandwiches, salads, juices, fresh fruits, coffee and beer (important: a sixpack of beer is 7,5 euros between certain hours!). You can even have breakfast delivered directly to your tent and even though we didn’t try it, it actually looked really good.
Food & Drinks
You might find yourself eating fries obsessively but that’s ok, you belong now. Just make sure you get them with mayonnaise (second time’s a charmer!).
It’s painful even thinking about all that food. Everything looks and smells amazing and you should try it. There are things you are not going to be able to pronounce but you will definitely enjoy them. A burger with fries costs about 10 euros. The food is not that expensive but you will want to try everything. There are plenty of alcoholic drinks you can choose from, beer is about 4,5 euros and you can also find tap water at the rest areas, just hold on to a plastic glass.
Stages & Sound
Best Kept Secret festival has one open air stage (the main stage), three tent stages and one dance floor stage. Stage TWO is a couple of minutes away from the main stage so you won’t miss much. Stages THREE and FIVE are a bit further away but you should definitely make some time to check them out because you will find some great performances there. FOUR is the dance floor, so if you got your moves don’t miss the opportunity to show them off.
As far as the sound is concerned, everything was great and you won’t be bothered by the other stages at all.
The public is very chill and extremely polite but you might find yourself in a mosh pit at the most unexpected times. Don’t worry though, after a few you will feel it coming from far away. Now that you survived the mosh pits, you can easily see at least 6 or 8 full performances every day. The bands overlap but it’s not necessarily that frustrating. You can swing between stages and it won’t be too difficult to get in front of the stage either.
The weather was amazing, somehow unexpectedly hot, so if you’re the better-safe-than-sorry kind of person, then maybe you should wear sunscreen, lay down on the sand from time to time and even watch a band perform on the mainstage with your feet in the lake.
When we arrived at the festival things were not going so well because our mobile carrier left us without online banking and everything got really uncertain. But since it was time for a digital detox, at some point it wasn’t such a bother anymore. Instead, we found a beautiful place near the lake and started to set up the tent. Next thing we know, we are standing in the front line at Future Islands and Sam Herring is doing a soundcheck – this amazing human being! It was the first concert of the festival for us and it had successfully disconnected us from the outside world for the next three days. Later that day, Tyler, the Creator wrecked the stage and got us right into a mosh pit where somehow our cameras survived.
Getting ready for the headliner of the first day – Arctic Monkeys. There you have it: a new look, fancy trousers and the charming accent that gets everybody singing „Four out of Five”. The second song, ”Brainstorm”, breaks hell loose and what followed next was absolutely insane.
The next day started slowly with Angus & Julia Stone at noon and Wolf Alice had some technical issues they overcame like the great bad they are. Afterwards, we took our time to explore the festival and go from stage to stage while The Internet and The Kills performed. It was a difficult decision to make between Alex Cameron and Vince Staples but it had to be made – Vince Staples was absolutely owning stage TWO. Without doubt, Slowdive was one of the best performances of the festival, a transcending experience and an intimate gig to remember.
The National headlined the second day and even though Matt confessed being on painkillers because of running through his hotel room on Future Islands’ music (right?), they delivered an incredible show as they always do.
Sunday was the best day. We had breakfast by the lake while listening to Mr. Tillman’s and James Murphy’s rehearsals. As we entered the festival site, Vagabond was playing on stage FIVE and we were happy to finally see her perform. It was a privilege to see Rodriguez’s performance – charming as always, he switched sunglasses and hats and performed his songs with the public singing along. Hearing him cover Jefferson Airplane was a really emotional moment.
Just minutes after, we had an instant change of pace with Ty Segall & The Freedom Band at the stage TWO. Ty Segall is argueable one of the most gifted musicians of his generation. Next, we moved to the main stage and found ourselves knowing every single lyric of Spoon’s songs and realize that in the end we are the kid with the band tee and the confetti tube that makes the singer bring back memories from his school years. Things got even more emotional for us when they played the rare classic „The Way We Get By”.
Believe it or not, Mr. Tillman was even more amazing than expected and by the time he finished playing his first song, everybody was under his spell. The love was real, honeybear.
LCD Soundsystem was the last band that played on the main stage this year and also the band that brought us to the Beekse Bergen Safari Park. It’s a great feeling to see the band you love reunited and touring again. After teasing us all day with the rehearsal and then watching all the other bands perform on the main stage under their disco ball, they brought a countdown timer with them on stage. Needless to say, until they came on stage everyone was fixated on that thing. Long story short, the crowd went crazy, James Murphy and his effortless coolness reigned and the amazing Nancy Whang covered Chic’s “I Want Your Love”. And of course we danced ourselves clean! The only bad part was that they didn’t include “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down” in their set but there’s always a next time, isn’t it?
Waking up before 8am after such a weekend should be considered a crime.
We packed our stuff and raced to the shuttle bus, then caught the bus to Brussels, where we had enough time to reflect. Besides the fact that we regret a bit not having enough time to check out the smaller bands too, everything was truly amazing.
Best Kept Secret really got our hearts racing and quickly became one of our favorite festivals. Looking forward to the 2019 lineup – we’ll be there!