London's Junction 2 Festival caught our eye from the moment it was first announced back in 2016, due to its choice of location out west in the UK capital. Rarely did niche music festivals appear in central London and, if they did, it would always be in the east end and here was a new techno festival appearing at the 'wrong end' of the Central Line. In this 'Meet the Promoter' feature we meet the team behind J2, and gain some insight into the beginning and continuation of the festival..
Tell us about your involvement with Junction 2?
We are Junction 2, alongside partner and curator, Adam Beyer. We run the operations and promotion of the festival with our LWE team.
How did Junction 2 begin?
We were running club style events in different venues and warehouses in London and had always wanted to grow. We had always talked about doing a festival but never wanted to be just another promoter putting on an across the board line up. In such a competitive market like London, we would have been going up against the big boys. So, we decided to wait till we found the right site. At the same time we were a year or two into Drumcode Halloween at Tobacco Dock and were selling out the event well in advance and wondering how to find a venue to house a bigger Drumcode. The hunt for that space was on…
How did you find the festival site and why was it chosen? Does throwing a festival in London provide any unique challenges?
We had been aware of the Junction 2 site, Boston Manor Park, for a few years but had never felt it was the right time to approach the council. The stars aligned and we got put in touch with someone there and we went on our first site visit there a few weeks later. We obviously fell in love the minute we walked under the M4 and walked over the brow of the hill and saw the metal army bridge going over the river taking you to a secluded island underneath a motorway in central London!!
Throwing a festival in London has so many challenges. But the same as any festival really. The main ones are transport and sound. Festivals outside of the capital are usually camping so they only need parking but sites in London need transport really close by, but decent transport links also usually mean residents close by, and therefore sound restrictions! For Junction 2, we’ve gone to painstaking effort to work around these challenges and provide some of the best sound and production found anywhere in London.
How do you approach programming and where do you draw your inspiration? We know for example you have worked closely with International festivals such as Sonus Festival. How does the sharing of ideas work in the international festival game?
We set out for the programme to be centred around techno and its many variants. We felt that we wanted to be focussed and uncompromising in this approach and to have a strong music policy and for the event to reflect where this sound is each year. A mix of the bigger artists and emerging all sharing stages that each had an aesthetic that suited that sound.
Its great working with the SONUS team, they have such a depth of experience through their events in Croatia and the monolithic Time Warp. It gave our new outdoor stage an identity that again paired well with the more sun-drenched sounds of their Croatia event, and it’s been great to take a bit of the Junction 2 grit back to Croatia too.
Who are you looking forward to most this year at Junction 2?
I think it’s our strongest line up to date, but the element that stands out this year are the 3 back to backs.
Adam Beyer x Carl Cox
I think this is the first time these two have played back-to-back and I can’t think of a more fitting place than under the J2 bridge as a setting for this.
Dixon x Âme
They played separately in year one of the festival and it’s rare to have them share a festival stage for 5-6 hours. It was always one of our ambitions with this event. To give the headline acts the time and space to really do get in a groove and work a dance floor.
Sonja Moonear x Nicolas Lutz
Two of the hottest and most interesting artists to emerge in the last few years. They will take control of the little Glade that is the woodland stage and make it their own. The combination of Moonear’s pinpoint sound and intricate mixing with Lutz, one of the scenes deepest crate diggers is a combination that we’re excited about.
London is not short of festivals. In fact you could argue that it has too many festivals. How does Junction 2 stand out? What makes it unique and what keeps people coming back?
It’s not short of festivals, that’s true. But if you look at them, they are all quite different, from Wireless to Hospitality in the Park, to Lovebox and Citadel, to Lambeth County Show, to elrow and then new kid on the block, Kaleidoscope… and so many more. All of them appeal to their own market and offer a different concept. Junction 2 is the only techno-only festival and it has the coolest site in London.
Adam Beyer is a household name when it comes to techno. He is the owner of Drumcode and a part owner of the show. How did this relationship come about?
We have been working on Drumcode since 2010, we built it up from a small show to the legendary event it is now. Adam has really shown how to have a reputable career, step by step, whilst always delivering the goods. He is a true master behind the decks and works relentlessly hard to be on top of his game, never offering up the same set twice.
What are your predictions for the future of dance music festivals?
It’ll be an adventure, what ever happens...