By all accounts, it’s been a particularly impressive year for party-starters London Warehouse Events – Known to the many as LWE. Having successfully introduced Printworks London; a refreshing and much-needed alternative clubbing experience into London’s musical landscape, their other recent creation and big biggest yet – Junction 2 – had enjoyed a seamless and excellent inaugural edition last year and in turn, became an all-new highlight as it comfortably asserted itself onto the London festival circuit.
Fast-forward 12 months and West London’s newest all-dayer returned with a logical spotlight on it. Having smashed its first year quite literally out of Boston Manor Park, all the pre-talk was largely split between how good last year was, and how could it live up to, and even exceed, already high expectations. With this in mind, we’re going to run through the all-important facets of a festival that should be taken into consideration to ensure a smooth and all-round solid experience. Which boxes did Junction 2 tick? We run the rule below.
Well in truth a fair fight of the battle was already won before the gates had even opened, with the weather gods deciding to bless the Junction 2 area of the M4 motorway with some truly glorious sunshine, which didn’t threaten even a cloud to disrupt the rays. With London having since basked under some intensely muggy temperatures in excess of 34c, the highs of 23 were just about perfect, and considering 2 new stages offered virtually zero cover; this was an aspect that massively paid off.
Housed in the sleepy depths of West London – the Borough of Hounslow made famous by Kurupt FM to be exact – Boston Manor is a name that would seldom roll off anyone’s tongue when it comes to a party location, yet with no less than 28-acre’s of Park land to enjoy, it’s the site that keeps on giving! We say that having experienced the festival site in its stripped back format for its debut, with the Drumcode, Hydra and Warehouse stages your 3 options, which made for an extremely enjoyable and simple experience in terms of layout and moving between the sites 3 corners.
Whilst the Drumcode stage, the festival’s main attraction remains undoubtedly a site to behold – a concrete corridor with a stretch of motorway that sits above the crowd in a setting reminiscent of somewhere far from its its London locale. Yet away from Klock & co. this years expansion brought 2 alternative offerings to the fore, with the intimate Into The Woods stage offering a more minimal musical approach with dub and groove at the forefront, whilst the Sonus stage offered what appeared to be the festival’s biggest space, a huge uncovered landmass with the tower of pharmaceutical giant Glaxo Smith-Klein as its backdrop. Both stages were to play a pivotal role in our day of musical programming as we regularly flitted between the tucked away woodland and the spacious open-air locale of Sonus.
Welcoming nothing less than the top tier of international big-room techno and house to West London for a one-day bonanza, there’s no getting away from the fact that Junction 2 isn’t a festival to be overshadowed. With the cream of the crop across all stages, the likes of Charlotte De Witte, Willow and Eagles & Butterflies may have been the day’s lesser-known names, but their path to headline success – at least judging by their sets on the day – is merely a formality.
Shouts must go to DJ Tennis, Ben Klock and one of our personal favourites Joseph Capriati for delivering virtuoso sets full of supreme and unrelenting techno, yet the days stand out moment came from everyone’s favourite German DJ Koze who, almost effortlessly, shifted from styles of tech-house, to tribal but, all the while, keeping things groovy and allowing us some temporary respite from today’s hard-hitting soundtrack.
Perhaps overlooking the excellent Into The Woods stage for a second, for a lineup that offers nothing but the heavyweights of underground house and techno, artists like Adam Beyer, Ben Klock and Joseph Capriati are justification alone for the modest price-tag. With ticket’s starting at £37 before final release ending on £55, considering other day festivals are now charging anything between £65 – £85 for a single ticket, not to mention club prices nearing £30 nowadays, it’s no wonder J2 comfortably sold out in advance.
One aspect of this festival that cannot be rivalled elsewhere is its sound quality. With levels reminiscent of those at Sonar in Barcelona or Outlook and Dimensions in Pula – you will be hard pressed to hear a better quality or level of sound at any other festival in the UK. This is in large part to the lack of sound restrictions with the festival site overlooking the motorway, but whilst that can invite a previously unheard of volume at any British festival, it’s the clarity and care put into its setup across the five stages that make it so impressive.
Varying from young and youthful to seasoned heads. Whereas an air of creeping hostility can be found unfortunately across many of today’s festivals, here punters were happy and friendly, a rare and refreshing vibe that’s usually prevalent and your smaller, more obscure festivals not found in the capital.
Despite a hugely competitive festival weekend with the likes of Park Life, Southport and Gottwood all active, Junction 2 offers something altogether different, tapping into a previously untouched gap in the market for UK festival-goers. / we have no doubt J2 under the expert guidance of LWE, is on its way to being recognised as one of the best techno festivals in the next few years.
Mall Grab – Pool Party Music – During Joseph Capriati – Sonus Stage
Moderat – Bad Kingdom (DJ Koze Remix) played by DJ Koze – Hydra Stage
Maceo Plex – Solar Wind played by Maceo Plex at Sonus Stage
Josh Wink – Higher State Of Consciousness
Mandar – Canary played by Praslea – Into The Woods
Barnt – If She Says She Is A Healer, She Is A Healer played by Ben Klock at Drumcode