The first festival is a mandatory one I have been going to annually since its start in 2013, namely Best Kept Secret in Hilvarenbeek, the Netherlands, which took place from the 17th to the 19th of June. This festival has been all about organic food with heaps of vegetarian and vegan options, and environmentally friendly cups since its beginning, with this year a remarkable choice of bugs on the menu. Not only fried crickets, but also springrolls with mealworms were served by Microbar as a tasty and sustainable source of proteins.
- Christine and the Queens: in short a show based around gender roles/identity and individuality, with a very energetic Heloïse Létissier doing French/English thing.
- Glass Animals: it actually was sunny during this gig, it got me wet in other places.
- Air: A classic when it comes to Electro-Pop, even if you don't know them, you'll know them.
Further special moments that brought the audience together were the indie-karaoke on the final day, which opened the Sunday on a very energetic note and got rid of any hangovers. The European Championship in football also gave a good sense of companionship, since most were rooting for Belgium since the Dutch were excluded from the games.
Furthermore, people were willing to help out; sustainable cups with a deposit of 1 euro were donated towards a drinkingwater project called Viva Con Agua for the first time this edition of Best Kept Secret. Finally, left-over money on the inventive wristband chip device could be donated for the first time as well towards a charity called Movement on the Ground that supports refugees. Until the 31st of June donating your leftover credit is still possible on bestkeptsecret.nl/cashout. More information on Movement on the Ground can be found here.
The week after Best Kept Secret another relatively new festival was scheduled. Down the Rabbit Hole was supposed to start on Thursday the 23th of June, but because of the massive amount of rain it opened a day later. Luckily it did not get canceled, but with the mud and showers this might have been the wettest festival I have ever been to.
At the same spot with a view over the lake, every morning yoga classes were given as well. These turned out to be the perfect way to start a day of festival with supple joints and a grounded mind after sleeping uncomfortably in a tent.
Sculpting, Hula-hoops, trampolines, sand-castle building and even a giant deck-chair: This festival brought back aspects of childhood, while also considering the men who needed a haircut at a barber's corner, including Jack-Daniels, or anyone needing an illegal Russian show could have gotten it for the cheap price of only 2 tokens. Nothing seemed to be out of place at Down the Rabbit Hole.
The politics on this festival however did come mostly from the artists in contrast to the sustainable and environmentally friendly organisation seen at Best Kept Secret. Keeping the very recent Orlando shootings in mind, Sun Kil Moon performed about the subject of gun control in the United States and what recently passed away Muhammad Ali would have thought about it during their new song Me We.
The Brexit vote to leave the EU got mentioned by multiple artists like Lianne La Havas and The National, pleading for Britain to come back. Moreover PJ Harvey recited John Donne's No Man is an Island to refer to the current events in one of the best and most impressive live gigs I have ever seen in my 22 years (which have been about 108 concerts). Of course, her latest album Hope Six Demolition Project was already full of political content, and having PJ Harvey perform on the day after the vote was a strange coincidence that turned out to be a very memorable one.
Both Best Kept Secret and Down the Rabbit Hole managed to bring attention to more than just music. If it was refugees, drinking water, sustainability and delicious organic food, or more recent events that are worth thinking about, my mind is defenitely occupied with these subjects now. Festivals should be about sharing ideas on important subjects, it is a great opportunity to meet a lot of new people to discuss these with while also having a great time (despite the mud).