Photo Credit: Chris Cooper
Despite heavy rain in my home city, London was blessed with sunshine. This required an impromptu stop at Uniqlo (other shops available), for some cheap shades that resembled Johnny Depp from Fear and Loathing, except with a misshaped head. They are to live out the rest of their life at the back of the wardrobe.
As the Piccadilly train traversed through London picking up more and more party revellers, the excitement started to kick in. With everyone discussing who wants to see who and when, but everyone secretly knowing this is never going to happen when there’s a group of you. There’s always someone who wants another drink, the loo or to talk to some random who wanted to give you a peg.
Upon exiting Boston Manor tube, it was evident to see the utmost care and effort LWE events have gone into, working seamlessly with local residents and council alike. We were warmly greeted and ushered along, so there was no loitering and no holding up the mass on people. Pop up toilets and plenty of makeshift bins provided for extra care. All to make the whole affair as less imposing to the residents as possible. Credit goes out to the organizers, the local resident’s council and all the staff involved.
Seamless entry. A quick ID check to make sure no one entering was under 18. Much to my amusement, I didn’t require to prove I was of age much to my appeal with a smile. We quickly grabbed a pocket full of drinks tickets and made our way to the main stage so we could grab the sunshine while we still could.
Greeted by Max Cooper, the N.Ireland bred producer, who is growing musically with every track he makes. The crowd being treated to some heavy but cautious daytime warm-ups. Delving from the “deep house” boom of 2015, to dark, musically programmed beats, heavily laden with percussive elements. At the time, we were still in the queue for a beer, it seemed everyone had the same idea and the group had already lost each other. One notable track he played which was very catchy was Gabriel Ananda – ‘Whipperstopper’ and Anthony Rother – ‘God’, a 2006 track that frenzied up the daytime party.
At the bottom field, you can find The Stretch & The Warehouse. A huge, open expanse area accommodating food vans for all eating options and flavours, but also offering chill out hammocks and seating.
Under the canvas of The Stretch stage was tINI. Unmissable with her curly locks, but probably best known for her ‘Tini and the Gang’ parties and not unknown to playing b2b’s with the likes of Villalobos at DC10. She knows how to handle the set times she had, going from the end of a warm-up set, taking it into the faster darker side. With no-nonsense minimal funky grooves, she was playing the likes of Floorplan – Baby Baby and Dubfire & Oliver Huntemann – Fuego (Julian Jeweil Remix).
With the sun still shining brightly, we were swayed towards the unbelievable atmosphere within the popup warehouse. We caught the last 30 minutes of Dense & Pika who had the crowd in all sorts of states, playing at around 140bpm. The Warehouse was something straight out of a Detroit club in the late 80’s. Barely able to see in front of you, flashing strobes and dry ice filling the air. This was the place to be if you wanted to lose a couple of pounds. The best HIIT class in the whole of the UK at the time. Having rapidly changed their style from the pair that brought us the divine track ‘Colt’. There was no holding back from the duo. To give you an idea of the tunes they were belting out, check ‘Randomer – Fat Purple Figs’.
Junction 2, not being your typical scattering of tents in a big park, this party had a whole lot more to offer. Strolling through the forest you were able to orchestrate your own music at a small stand along the path to The Woods. Abling you to manipulate the beats and modulate the frequency and filter of the music. A further wonder brought you to the stage, set in a clearing amongst the trees that had a slight different affair of music on, with a few speed garage numbers to make a change from the techno based event. No doubt a few of these tunes were older than some of the young guns of today. Music holds prejudice.
Venturing down to the iconic backdrop of which Junction 2’s name originated was The Bridge set beneath junction 2 of M4s motorway. An unsuspectingly long walk, across a small bridge with a flowing river beneath and dust devils spitting up where the slight gusts were channelled in the narrow setting. This stage was hosted by none other than Adam Beyer’s ‘Drumcode’. As you cress the slight hill, you are greeted by a mass of people in the long corridor. People from far and wide come to party under essentially concrete and tarmac. Certainly one of the more original settings for a dance stage in recent years. Undoubtedly a nod to Steve Lawler’s illegal raves in a tunnel under the M42 in the early 90’s.
With a fresh haircut and his mum and dad in his entourage behind him, carefully manipulating his co-designed Model 1 PLAY A&H mixer and live looping percussion on Ableton’s PUSH, Richie Hawtin. Even from afar, the tunes and sound system sounding incredible, if not a little quiet. Unfortunately we didn’t stay long, as the abundance of people who were keen on getting toward to the front; we seemed to have got stuck in a thoroughfare of people which put a slight dampener on an incredible set.
With the sun dipping below the horizon and a chill in the air, we succumb once again to the darkness of London’s playing field The Warehouse. A young, energy filled lady named Amelie Lens behind the decks was last on. With numerous recent sell-out gigs, we were lucky to get in as soon after, the room at full capacity, a few friends left outside unable to get in, the door staff operating a 1 in 1 out policy. She ripped through souls with no-nonsense, trapping techno. Nearing 145bpm, with huge reverbed drums and acid twining stabs, there was no holding back. Amelie was doing what Amelie does. If you haven’t heard of her, you should probably pop your mobile phone up back in the original box and return to sender.
A slow and steady stroll back to the tube, once again, the streets lined with security to ensure a smooth exit, it was back into London to carry on the party.
–Credit to the photographers, the staff, the first aiders and everyone who had an aid in a smoothly festival throughout the day–