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London’s Junction2 is back on track and is here to stay

After quite a difficult time and a series of unfortunate events, which led to the cancellation of several editions in the last few years, Junction2 has returned to its original home – Boston Manor Park in London – with a magnificent two days event, reaffirming its role as one of the best festivals in the UK and globally.

Photo Credit:  @siennalorrainegray / @khromacollective@hirobjones / @daisydenham@jakephilipdavis

There was a time when festivals in the United Kingdom suffered some sort of inferiority complex towards continental Europe counterparts, mainly for the vibe and the overall organization. These times are over with Junction2, bringing to London an event that could easily compete with any other big player around the world. The impression also is that this is just the beginning, better things are just around the corner.

With a well-balanced line-up, made of big names and some music legends, together with many emerging talents, the final product was a wisely crafted proposal floating from raw techno and industrial sounds, to more subtle and melodic atmospheres, where the genres were always carefully coupled to their stage setups.

The iconic Bridge, running under the M5 motorway, made its way back into the program, where techno was the main protagonist and saw the performances of, among others, Nina Kravitz, Jeff Mills, and Charlotte De Witte. On this stage, worth mentioning also the visionary project by Dj Tennis and Carlita, together making Astra Club, which was one of the best shows of the entire weekend.

The Wood Stage, which was one of the best memories from past editions, gave us again some moments to remember. Captured by the set of OR:L A, Irish dj and producer founder of Céad, sifting along mesmeric deep house and some wonderful intricacies of minimal tunes. The atmosphere and people’s vibe here made the difference, in this more private setting where we all felt confident and close to each other, feeling on our skins the sounds coming out of the fabulous Funktion One speakers.

Under the tent of the Blackout stage, Junction2 proposed a more uplifting lineup, with some clear British influences, ranging from downtempo house and disco, garage, and more. The darker ambience under the tent conflicted at certain moments with the joyful faces all around you, dancing at the bits of artists such I. Jordan, with her upbeat filtered house bangers, or Sama Abdulhadi, the inspiring Palestinian dj fighting oppression through raw dystopian techno beats.

The main stage, the Grid, was at the center of the Park, with impressive flashing light games coupled with an imposing soundsystem. Here something magical happened during the Underworld performance on Friday, closing the day. Old school ravers rushed under the stage for the Welsh duo and gradually mixed up with younger ones. Those teenagers, slightly disoriented at first, then got captured by Karl and Rick, blending generations through music like no one else could. Totally different vibes with Adam Beyer, closing on Saturday under a storm of rain and wind. No one cared about the weather though while the Drumcode boss was blasting through the park its big, blooming techno basslines, smashing what was left of people’s energy for the last dance of an incredible weekend.

Special mention, though, must go to the Quad stage. This stage was held in partnership with Phonica Records on Friday, a leading independent record shop and label from London specializing in vinyl, and with FUSE on Saturday, an iconic London-based brand and record label founded by Enzo Siragusa. Two different vibes, for two parties that captured the minds and hearts of many. On Friday, euphonic beats of disco, funk, and house, from the likes of Dan Shake, Daphni b2b Hunee, and Dixon closing the stage; while on Saturday, driving kicks, crispy hi-hats, and chunky, groovy basslines setting the mood. Here is also where I had the chance to enjoy probably the best set of Junction2, in my humble opinion, with Margaret Dygas back-to-back Sonja Moonear, two incredibly talented selectors with an infinite archive of classy tunes.

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