Well, what an incredible two days. June 7th and 8th 2019 marked what we believe to be one of the best festivals we’ve attended in our years. Some of the finest techno artists, along with thousands of ravers descended on Junction 2 for two days of top notch raving in London which blurs the lines between industrial wasteland and natural woodland. This is the 3rd year that Junction 2 has run, with 2019 being the first to take place on multiple days, doubling the fun which we hope returns for next year’s edition.
Boston Manor Park was the site used for Junction 2, a 28 acre park in Brentford, part of which is under a motorway bridge. This year was their biggest yet, with 5 stages. The Bridge – one of the most interesting places to party, if a little dusty. The Warehouse – sponsored by Relentless and was a custom built indoor warehouse with an impressive array of lighting and lasers.
The Woods – our favourite stage, with a tiny shed like DJ booth set in the middle of a small and dense woodland with speaker stacks hidden amongst the trees – a real illegal rave feeling. The Stretch – a big tent that played host to the majority of the house music that was at J2. The Main Stage – a large open-air space with the dance floor encircled by raised platforms providing an arena-like feel. Flitting between stages also couldnt be easier, with an effective entry/exit system and clear pathways to each stage meaning it takes just a few minutes to get to your favourite artists.
LWE have really impressed us here. Junction 2 was one of the slickest run events we’ve had the pleasure of attending. Getting in and out of the site was quickly operated, and the general layout of the festival meant that there weren’t huge swarms of crowds being funnelled into a tiny entrance/exit. Bar queues were minimal and staff were all smiling and happy to help.
Food & Drink
Following suit for all of their events, LWE’s token system was again in place for J2, proved to reduce queue times when at the bar/food stalls. A solid selection of drinks were available across the many scattered bars on site, along with food venders serving up tasty treats from halloumi fries to Pad Thai and big boy burgers.
Priced at £1 a token, drinks were available for :
Frontier beer : £5.50
Mallets Apple/Dark Fruit cider : £6
Spirit & Mixer : £6.50
Wine : £5.50
Cocktails from £9.50 – £13
For a site that was already bursting with character, little was needed for most stages on the production front to captivate the crowd. That said, Junction 2 made some sound decisions (pun intended) to round off the visual experience for the weekend. Huge LED screens, piercing beam lights, dazzling strobes and gloomy mist-filled scenes featured throughout the two day spectacle, perfectly complementing the enthralling performances.
Boasted as being London’s loudest festival, and well we can’t argue there. The expertly installed L-Acoustics system boomed through Boston Manor Park through the use of the brand’s flagship festival speakers; K1 and K2. Even despite some stages being open-air with harsh winds, the audio experience wasn’t dampened in the slightest in all corners of the festival.
Festivals aren’t all about the music, take Glastonbury as a prime example. A event filled with extracurricular activities to keep you occupied. Amongst the “Activations” at J2 found a Hidden Gin Bar off the beaten track, a Relentless Synth machine which ravers could use themselves to create their own mini party deep inside the woods. Ibiza’s Cosmic Pineapple which offered a chill-out from the madness with a soothing relaxation experience and Richie Hawtin’s famous Japanese Sake Bar from his ENTER. residency at Space.
Real name Sherard Ingram, the US-born and Berlin-based electro visionary had us buckled up for dear life. The experimental sounding set which we won’t be forgetting anytime soon saw an assortment of radical breaks, pulsating bass and frantic acid. Notable heavy selections came in the form of “Coiled” by Swarm Intelligence and “Dangstuh” by Ddan which both rippled through the warehouse. Adding some flair and even more excitement to the performance saw Stingray chopping the fader between his vinyl selections with ease, keeping the crowd on their toes throughout.
Boy does this guy pack a punch. The Italian techno maestro lit up The Bridge with his powerful, emotive, and energetic techno; the only way he knows how. Playing on the Sunday for the Drumcode stage, Capriati made sure that the crowd was stomping away, so much so that you could see dust from the ground lifting up from the floor! A stand-out moment for us came from a track which sampled the big female vocals from “Love Sensation” by Loleatta Holloway soaring over the top of a downright dirty techno beat. Check the video to see just how big a reaction Capriati got from the crowd!
Tale Of Us b2b Maceo Plex
Playing day two on the main stage, we knew we were in for a treat with a host of unreleased and new music that we’d never heard before. The b2b followed 2hrs of Tale Of Us, and 2hrs of Maceo Plex, making this the culmination of a melodic masterclass which saw the sun draw to a close, setting the tone for the set. A particular highlight was Kolsch’s remix of the 1992 classic “Stella” by Jam and Spoon – the swirling melodies undercut by a thwarting kick. It was also a pleasure to hear Maceo Plex drop his 2015 anthem “Solar Detroit” – a throbbing techno track that had the entire crowd’s hands in the air.
Junction 2 proved to be a clear example of what great looks like. The faultless experience had everything – top quality production, emphatic sound and a truly diverse selection of incredible artists who you rarely see in the UK. Most importantly they listen to their fans, with feedback from previous years acted on to improve entry/exit systems, additional bars, toilets and other small changes which make a huge difference. Putting their fans first, rather than choosing to skimp on costs – other festivals take note. Bring on next year! 10/10.
Cover image : Shotaway/Chris Cooper