The team behind Junction 2 speaks to Marcus Barnes about their forthcoming new festival…
This summer LWE launches Junction 2, their very first foray into the festival world and one that has all the promise of being something very special. So far, very little has been revealed about the new event, but what we do know is that it’s going to be held at an intriguing new location, with partners The Hydra and Drumcode hosting stages alongside LWE’s brand, Closer. Think enchanting, green woodland with winding paths, waterways under and amongst a lot of concrete and you’ll probably be quite baffled…
On more solid ground, we’re all well aware that the music policy is focused on techno, which is unique for London at this time. With that in mind, plus the mystery location and three of the professionals on the case, it’s an exciting prospect and, judging by the standards they have set with events up till now, one that should live up to expectations.
Junction 2’s story began with LWE, who have become a favourite amongst many electronic fans thanks to their ambition to constantly push the boundaries of what is possible here in London. Anyone who’s been to Tobacco Dock will attest to their ability to stage an immense event. By the same token, they’ve also demonstrated that they can put on good quality, smaller shows with their Closer offshoot.
But how did Junction 2 get off the ground? “We’ve been looking to do a festival for over two years but we have never found a site that ticks all the boxes,” says director Paul Jack, one of the three founders of LWE. “With Junction 2 I think we’ve finally got that unique site we’ve been looking for. It combines an iconic industrial setting with plenty of greenery, which is rare on a UK festival site” says Paul.
Paul further adds “The main stage is housed under a huge bridge with stages two and three making use of the greener elements of the site and the walkways between the stages winding through woodland areas… I honestly believe there is nothing to compare it to in the UK right now.” Certainly there aren’t many events that can boast of having a countryside type scenery – green fields and woods – intertwined with imposing industrial structures. None that we can think of here in the UK anyway. Perhaps in Europe, where events like Melt and Into The Valley assemble techno’s finest talents in locations that astound and amaze, while remaining perfectly aligned with the music.
Fellow LWE partner and talent booker, Will Harold, echoes Paul’s enthusiasm for the new site, “I am more excited about this site than when we first found Tobacco Dock. It’s amazing! It has never been used before, it’s quick and easy to get to on the tube and has all the right ingredients to potentially be able to get proper sound levels.”
The second member of this trio is Drumcode, Adam Beyer’s seminal techno imprint that has established a dedicated following since its inception back in 1996. Drumcode is, across their parties and record releases, a potent force in techno that has stayed underground yet managed to stay irresistible to its legions of fans. Adam Beyer and Drumcode have really cultivated a new sound, which has opened techno up to a wider audience, still a discerning one but one that is less male dominated, and that’s in terms of both the crowd and the DJs.
Will Harold explains the decision to roll with techno as the core sound track “We all love lots of different music at LWE but ultimately techno is our first and true love. If we are going out together it’s to listen to something 4/4, and more than likely techno in one of its varied forms. There are so many great clubs and parties in London, but for outdoor events no one has really produced a festival that is aimed solely at that audience. Many other festivals are multi-genre and borrow from lots of different scenes, we wanted to do something that is representative of the vibrant techno community in London.”
Which brings us to Jeremy Ford, of Bigfoot Management, who manages Drumcode and Adam Beyer. Jel sees their involvement with Junction 2 as a big step for the label and its growing relationship with LWE and London’s electronic music culture. 2016 is Drumcode’s 20th anniversary, so Junction 2 will be an important part of their celebrations for reaching such an important milestone. “We have been working with LWE on all of our Drumcode events for over six years now, always thinking about how we can progress with them and get to the next level and this felt like a logical step,” he says.
Adding, “It feels incredibly exciting to be part of this. This project is exactly what we we’re aiming for and it’s fantastic to work with other promoters with the same vision.”
Completing the ménage à trois is Dolan Bergin, owner of The Hydra, who has been promoting parties in London for many years, building a highly-respected brand that has long-standing connections with favourites like Ostgut Ton and Innervisions. Dolan booked Marcel Dettmann several years ago, for one of his electric minds parties. It was there that his relationship with Ostgut Ton began, blossoming into a two-way exchange with electric minds returning to Panorama Bar each year and Ostgut Ton’s finest coming to London to play at The Hydra. Dolan’s has also worked closely with leading label Innervisions for a number of years with a recent highlight being the much talked about Lost In A Moment party on Osea Island.
Working with Will on the bookings, Dolan has helped curate a stellar line up, “When we started The Hydra we wanted to book what we considered to be good music, this has carried through into everything we do, and with Junction 2 it’s looking really strong. All I can say is that we’ve invited along some of the friends we’ve made over the years…”
Will adds, “It’s been great programming this with Drumcode and The Hydra; we’ve been discussing it for a long time and a lot of careful planning has gone into getting the line up to work musically and represent the three partners… as well as that sweet spot where we all converge. We’ve been lucky and almost everyone we’ve invited to play has been excited by the concept and has said yes. We’re all really looking forward to announcing the line up and just as eager to stage the event itself.”
Dolan elaborates on the partnership “LWE are very professional and work to a high standard, as we do at The Hydra. Production and sound are crucial to the events we work on… and that will be paramount to all of us at this festival.”
LWE partner and event’s producer, Alice Favre, is the one who gets excited about the parts sometimes overlooked by other promoters, the basic nuts and bolts of an event like crowd flow, facilities and signage.
Remember that time you went to Tobacco Dock and didn’t have to queue for hours at the end of a night out because all your stuff was in a locker? You’ve got Alice to thank for that, and her influence will be crucial to Junction 2.
“We will bring our trademark attention to detail to Junction 2, we pride ourselves on making an event flow better and work for the customer, we were the first to bring lockers into clubs in the UK. As a team we are always discussing new ways to make our events more enjoyable for our customers.”
“At Tobacco Dock we can only use portaloos to up the numbers of toilets but as this is outside we are going for compost loos, which are much nicer to use and better for the environment too! Oh and one final thing, the festival is virtually weather proof so even if we have a typical English summer, Junction 2 will still be amazing!”
For now we’ll just have to keep pondering over the clues they’ve dropped and sit tight for more information. One thing is for sure; it has all the hallmarks of a blinder… wherever the bloody hell it is.
By Marcus Barnes