This festival was top of my list this year, having had such an awesome time popping my "foreign festival" cherry at BKS 2015. Still a relatively young event, I was keen to see how much Best Kept Secret had flourished in the past 12 months, and if I could have had even half the fun of the previous year I'd have been on to a winner!
Best Kept Secret is a Dutch music festival based near the picturesque town of Hilvarenbeek, a stones throw from the Belgian border. The festival site itself is based in the Beekse Bergen safari park, around a fairly sizeable lake, and with a daily capacity of 25,000 it is similar in size to Kendal Calling, Green Man or Camp Bestival.
One of the first things that struck me about this years event was the lineup. At first glance, the 'big names' seemed a little sparse. Having flaunted headliners such as Arctic Monkeys, The Libertines, Noel Gallagher, Alt-J and Elbow in the past, this years line up seemed far more considered: Beck and Jamie XX headlined either side of Editors (who are apparently HUGE in mainland Europe). There seemed to be less of a reliance on big household names to sell tickets, and more of an appetite to fill the lineup with acts that complimented each other (Blossoms and Sleaford Mods aside, obvs).
This year I was keen to see some less familiar acts rather than just stick to photographing the bands I knew, and this paid serious dividends! Beach Slang, Julien Lewis, Explosions in the Sky and Wolf Parade were particularly notable highlights, whilst Editors headlining set on the Saturday night in the pouring rain was just outstanding (even though Tom was apparently full of cold).
It was great to catch up with some of the European photographers, too. Last year I was a little apprehensive about approaching the guys around me as I didn't speak the native tongue, but with less British photographers in the pit this year I decided to make more of an effort getting to know some of the people I was shooting alongside, which was cool. One particular highlight involved trying to explain to a Dutch and a Belgian photographer the premise of Sleaford Mods. It wasn't easy.
It was also great to enjoy the local cuisine, too. I touched on it last year, but the regional delicacy in this particular area of The Netherlands was fantastic! Kapsalon which is essentially Shawarma kebab, chips and cheese, grilled and served with chilli sauce. It is devine! Anyways, enough about food..
Huge thanks to everyone involved with getting me to Holland to take some pictures. Si, Fogal and Harry at I l Like Press, and Jochem at Friendly Fire (who has an uncanny resemblance to Tottenham and Belgium centre-half Toby Alderweireld) who were all a massive help all weekend - no more so than sorting a boat trip out on the lake to get a nice wide shot of the festival.
Scroll down for EIGHTY FOUR pictures from the weekend. And Google Kapsalon when you get a chance.