Reviewed: Junction 2
For most of the year, Boston Manor Park is the sort of place you take your dog for a long walk, a bit of a suburban exploration ground if you will. The perfect mix of concrete and nature, spearheaded either side by two of London’s many pulmonary routes in the A40 and the M4.
We don’t know exactly who was responsible for the thought process that saw the conceptual birth of Junction 2 a few years ago, but whoever it was had to be pretty pleased with themselves by now.
We think it’s fair to say that in its relatively short lifecycle so far, it has definitely established itself as a major player in the UK festival calendar comparatively to some of the biggest, longstanding giants (extra kudos for the fact that it is only a one-day festival).
Photo credit: Ryan Dinham
This year, J2 sported a strong five stage layout each with its own persona; from Drumcode’s ‘The Bridge’ right through to Oasis Festival’s ‘The Woods’, the production element was extremely focused towards creating unique visual experiences reminiscent of some of the most well-known festivals and brands on the planet.
They certainly weren’t playing any games when it came to the lineup either, with the majority of the Techno scene’s major hitters descending on West London to fly the flag as high as possible for the darker, more artistic side of electronic dance music.
With the stages masterfully constructed and the wave of seriously heavyweight talent at the ready, it was time to do some damage. If Carlsberg did London techno festivals…
Photo Credit: Sam Neill
The general vibe throughout the day, even from the early stages was purely electric. It can be so easy to get festival layouts wrong, either having things right on top of each other or miles apart. Given the awkwardly shaped, unconventional space they were given to work with; we will say confidently that J2 nailed pretty much every conceivable aspect (even right down to the creative, bohemian facelift they dressed the accompanying woodland in, allowing for an enchanting walk between two of the bigger stages).
Now let’s get down to the real substance… la musica. With a lineup consisting of Adam Beyer, Carl Cox, Nina Kraviz, Tale Of Us, Maya Jane Coles, Dixon, Âme, Len Faki and even more techno titans; it was only ever really going to result in one typical outcome: ‘Ultimate levels of enjoyment spurred on by the highest calibre of modern-day dance music known to man.’
Throughout the day, it was quickly apparent that not only artists themselves were placed on exactly the right stage reliant of their sound but were running in the perfect order. From Dixon and Âme’s intense b2b to a set that has been causing a serious stir on social media in Sonja Moonear and Nicolas Lutz’s sinisterly indulgent riot in the woods; what a ludicrously enjoyable day and night of music (with a sensible cutoff time, negating a nightmare journey home!).
Some of the highlights for us, quite obviously in places, were as follows:
- La Fleur’s deep house inspired opening set at the bridge, showing her incredible level of adaptive talent.
- Maya Jane Coles’s absolute shelling on the Sonus stage, giving us a subtle reminder that she is still way up there!
- William Djoko’s eclectically tasteful spin in the woods.
- Dense & Pika’s sparring session in ‘The Warehouse’ which turned into a continuous stream of knockout blows very quickly.
Nina Kraviz, just being Nina and bossing the Sonus stage with an educational display.
- Last but not least, Beyer & Cox b2b on the bridge. A set that needs virtually no explanation whatsoever apart from ‘silly levels of enjoyable’.
We even caught up with Enrico Sangiuliano after his set (which deserves a special mention for its level of creative genius) for a chat about his new album, life in general and industry talk.
All in all; Junction 2 still remains the peak of London’s summertime techno enjoyment and it’s going to take some serious beating as the festival goes from strength to strength, year after year.
Thanks to LWE for having us and…Roll on 2019!