Junction 2 returned to Boston Manor Park this year revamped and reenergised. Spread across five stages and two days, the festival boasted a lineup that ranged from genre pioneers to underground and emerging artists.
On Friday, as crowds flooded through the gates, B.Love was kicking things off at the Woods stage. Accessible by snaking forest paths, the intimate space is surrounded by Funktion 1 speakers pumping some of the best quality sound we’ve heard at a London festival. B.Love opted for a bouncy all-vinyl set this year, dishing out tracks from a stage resembling a WWII bunker.
Max Cooper’s live set at The Grid stage was hypnotic. Complex IDM and thundering bass were backed by spiralling, looped visuals of skyscrapers, motorways, and urban settings. One of the world’s leading audio-visual artists, Cooper’s work often focuses on humanity’s place in the world. He provided the music for a video narrated by Greta Thunberg and Pope Francis in 2021, which was played at COP26 to urge world leaders to consider climate and environment in Covid recovery plans. The Grid’s vibrant ‘80s aesthetic worked well in an outdoor setting, with sunlight reflecting through tall Perspex cubes to project a rainbow of colour onto the crowd.
KETTAMA’s thumping set at the Blackout stage was a standout performance from the weekend. His emphatic club cuts brought together elements of rave, trance, grime and more, closing with an unpredictable mashup of Ostgut Ton favourite Barker and Ariana Grande. The hard-hitting house DJ and producer has skyrocketed in popularity since he first appeared on the scene in 2017, with releases on the likes of Steel City Dance Discs, R&S, Shall Not Fade, Dance Trax, Madhouse and Mutual Pleasure.
The Blackout stage, designed in collaboration with visionary Japanese artist Manami Sakamoto, brought the intensity of a Berlin club to the festival site. Layered, semi- transparent LED screens and light strips gave the venue a unique feel and brought its dark interior to life.
Centred under the M5, The Bridge was the only stage at this year’s iteration of the festival to receive no update in design. Minutes after arriving, it’s clear to see why; the iconic location is still unmatched in its appearance and remains as imposing as ever. Jeff Mills was at the helm when we got towards the front. A man who requires no introduction, his blindingly powerful set was one of the loudest I’d ever heard, with the hypnotic chimes and meaty kick drum of “The Bells” coinciding with the sunset.
Rave pioneers Underworld rounded off the day at The Grid with one of the most hotly anticipated shows on the lineup. Three large screens provided the visuals, whilst smoke, spotlights, lasers, and strobes combined for an immersive experience. The British duo interwove instrumental riffs and heavy synth progressions into their live performance and showcased many of their best-known tracks, closing with their inimitable crowd-pleaser “Born Slippy”.