Clubber’s confession from Junction 2: raving in London

I’ve never actually considered London to have much of a festival scene, albeit some of the best music in the world can be found here, but mainly inside clubs. Then I heard about a new festival under a motorway, saw some pictures and videos, and the decision was made. It turned out to be the right choice.

The people behind Junction 2 – now in its second edition – have built up this event around five different stages, some of them in cooperation with local crews and parties, others with global players. They found a perfect spot in west London, surrounded by nature in Boston Manor Park, but with an industrial touch thanks to the M4’s Junction 2 hosting a stage underneath it. They planned a killer line up, placed a top quality sound system and then just waited for the ravers to come. The music theme was evidently techno, with its different nuances and influences, but to be honest it was actually quite varied.

We started our day at the Hydra stage, where Willow was spinning vinyls. The Mancunian DJ – who in 2015 reached international acclaim with the single ‘Feel Me’ – dropped a nice set, house and funky influenced, but still kicking and waking us up from the night before. People were basking in the summer Sun, with a perfect day of breeze and light, which unfortunately caused the tent to stand quite empty. But the music was on point, so I will certainly go to watch Willow on the ones & twos as soon as I get the chance.

It was then time to move to the Sonus stage, and I’m sure everyone at Junction 2 remembers the first time they saw it. Whilst being a large open air arena, the sound coming from the space still hit you with clarity from a good distance away – just as a warning sign. Once in though, everything was perfectly calibrated and we could enjoy a nice hour by DJ Tennis.

This was one of the highlights of the day and it was a confirmation that you can expect anything and everything from this multi-faceted Italian DJ and producer. He played a warm, uplifting, deep selection of techy sound and house melodies, dropping some true gems. Ranging from more recent ones such as ‘Brock Wild’ by Sebo K, to classic disco house tunes like ‘For Your Love’ by Chilly (most probably a Todd Terje edit), immediately followed by some remix of ‘Let’s All Chant’ by Michael Zager. It was unexpected, unusual and all worth it.

DJing, for the most part, is a game you play with the crowd and DJ Tennis kept us all dancing, smiling and enjoying our time with a legendary selection.

In our brief tour around the venues we decided to explore the shady atmosphere under the trees of the Into the Woods stage. I immediately felt there was something special about this place. I remember vividly the sun passing through the leaves, the sound wrapping us up from every corner, the deep and dark atmosphere created by these excellent DJs who unfolded a coherent story throughout the different sets.

Everyone was enchanted, fascinated – it was like being in a small secret party with your closest friends. And the music was on point – super deep, hypnotic, sweating techno beats. The French Janeret was more mellow, trippy and housey, while Praslea had a ticker approach with hard-hitting beats, organ keys and constant rhythmic punches. Most probably, the best stage at Junction 2 this year!

At that point, we needed to check out the Drumcode stage. Whilst the warehouse arena was very cool and nicely designed, it was unfortunately too intense for such a beautiful summer’s day. Once we arrived at Drumcode, Ben Klock was already playing. By this point we had missed a lot of artists: Maceo Plex, Tale Of Us, Alan Fitzpatrick, among others… but that’s what happens when you have such a wide-ranging and quality showcase.

Ben Klock, as per usual, sounded flawless, firmly mastering the decks with candour and apparent spontaneity, as he offered an honest industrial techno set where bass, hi-hats, drums and melodies where perfectly mixed into each other in a unique, harmonic and pumping tale.

The Drumcode stage – under the motorway – is huge and you can feel its energy from a very long distance away. It is quite unique, which alone would be a reason to attend Junction 2 next year.

Adam Beyer closed the stage, with the attention of thousands of ravers. Everybody was now there, people looking like privileged hostages who were partially blown away by the many hours of dancing – but the party was not over yet. Tracks like ‘Parallel Universe’ by Bastinov is one of the last I sharply remember, with their powerful techno groove and the dark themes. The decadent post-industrial scenario of the Drumcode stage was perfect for this melancholic moment that closed a day to remember.

I was amazed by this festival and I believe it will go big very soon. I truly hope, however, that they keep the rebel spirit I discovered that weekend for the foreseeable future! Keep it up Junction 2 and see you next year!!!