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During Eurosonic Noorderslag we asked festival directors about their plans for the upcoming festival season. What can we expect for the lineup? Will there be any changes to the festival site? Will gender equality be represented on stage and is sustainability an increasingly important topic? Looking forward to Best Kept Secret 2019, we spoke to Roosmarijn Reijmer.

Lineup: what to expect?

“Everyone will be very impressed with Christine and the Queens’ concert. I saw it a couple of months ago in the AFAS Live in Amsterdam. It’s a wonderful mixture between a pop show and an art performance. Her performance is of such a high level. You just don’t know where to look. If you dance along, you will miss something else. It is really impressive. I think this will be the show that everyone will remember in five years.”

christine and the queens
Foto: Chris Stessens

Women will be dominant this year, we have announced many for Best Kept Secret. Julia Holter, Faye Webster, and Carolina Rose for example. There is no doubt that these women are gonna do very well. A few years ago, we noticed that there was an increasing amount of women at the showcase festivals. And now they’re all touring across Europe. They release one amazing album after the other. They are really gonna run the show.”

“Lizzo will be there as well. She will bring two dancers with her. It’s really a no bullshit show. I left with such a good mood. She shows that you can combine a social message with a good party.”

The festival site: will there be changes?

“There is a maximum of 25 thousand attendants at Best Kept Secret. We’ve said that, for now, this is enough for us. We want everyone to see his favourite band well. We think Best Kept Secret is great this way, and the visitors see this as well: it’s why we’ve sold out for two years in a row now. In this way, everyone can optimally enjoy the music in an intimate atmosphere. For this reason, one of the stages will get an upgrade. There will also be new stage at a spot where you really want to be on the festival grounds. The musical landscape is changing and so should we. That is a very organic development.”

“After every edition we evaluate extensively. This year we’ll pay more attention to alcohol-free and craft beers and we’ll add the Boutique Village. We notice that many visitors appreciate this variety. Also last year the supermarket did not have eggs on sale, but they will this year. We’re learning something every year.”

Best Kept Secret eten
Foto: Chris Stessens

“Which food trucks will return is being decided now. Last year, many visitors told us they missed the mac and cheese. However, what many people don’t know is that that truck itself had to cancel last-minute. But we will definitely make sure there will be plenty of Italian food this year. The vegetarian pitta gyros will also return again.”

The future: which wishes do you have for Best Kept Secret?

“There is no other festival that programs everything from Guided By Voices and Hop Along to Carly Rae Jepsen on a site with only 25 thousand people. That musical variety is what makes Best Kept Secret distinctive. It will define this edition, but we want to continue this as well. Visitors can go in all directions.”

“We are very proud of the place we occupy in the festival landscape. But there are always small things you can learn from other festivals. The atmosphere at Wildeburg is brilliant and what Pinkpop has been doing for fifty years is fantastic.”

“Last year was a very good summer for the entire festival community. I hope that this year will be just as great with amazing performances and happy visitors. But that’s such a cliche answer, are you really gonna write that down?”

Sustainability at festivals: how are you approaching this?

“As long as we’ve been doing this, an important factor has always been that everyone in the organisation remembers we would like to keep the world clean. Every year we explore where we can apply improvements to this. For years now the focus has been on reducing the amount of plastic. We were one of the firsts with hard cups. And we are cashless, so we don’t use coins. This also means less plastic.”

Foto: Jokko (BKS 2018)

“This year, we will ask all caterers if they can stop using plastic cutlery or plates and use biodegradable stuff instead. We also have the wish to place a compost machine on the site this year. You can compost waste in this which helps us preserve the festival site. At the same time, it also means less waste to get rid of. Moreover, we’re looking into using real cutlery and plates with a deposit scheme just like the hard cups.”

“Additionally, we have the 3D glasses for Kraftwerk. These are plastic, but they are touring with those glasses. When you’ve used them at our festival, you can either return them or take them home with you as a souvenir. That’s how they are reused.”

Photo credit: Peter Boettcher

Primavera Sound introduced ‘The New Normal’ with a fifty-fifty division of men and women. What are your thoughts on this?

“I think it’s not very 2019 to compare men and women. Last year, the amount of female-fronted acts at Best Kept Secret was doubled. Thirty-eight percent had a female frontwoman. And over forty percent of the bands had one or more female members. That happened in a completely natural way. I’m expecting that this year will be the same.”

“It’s not a choice between a good man and a bad woman. There are just more and more good women in the mix. I find it’s becoming an old-fashioned discussion. I’m very happy with how it’s going at our festival. Last year, we counted the lineup and we were surprised with the percentage of women. We didn’t do this on purpose. The lineup of 2019 is not finished yet, but it’s looking like there will be many great women on it again.”

More festival interviews

We have asked more festival directors to shine their light on the summer of 2019. You can read our other interviews here:

Best Kept Secret 2019

Foto: Nathan Reinds (BKS 2018)

Best Kept Secret is an annual three-day music festival organised by booking agency Friendly Fire. The first festival was held in 2013 inside the Safaripark Beekse Bergen, in Hilvarenbeek, Netherlands with Arctic Monkeys, Sigur Ros, and Damien Rise as headliners. In addition to its diverse lineup, the festival is famous for its lake where the crowd can have fun during the concerts. The good food, the beach, and the surroundings also contribute to the magical atmosphere offered by the event.

  • Date: 7–9 June 2019.
  • Location: Safaripark Beekse Bergen, Hilvarenbeek, Netherlands.
  • Tickets: 180€ for the weekend pass, 85€ for a day pass.
  • For more information, visit the official website.

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