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Junction 2 2019 Review

This was a big one for us, not only are we always excited to see what Junction 2 brings to the table, we were going to be reunited with our northern reporter who’d been planning the trip down from Newcastle since January. This is a long way from London we hear you say and you’d be right, though thankfully due to flights being cheaper than trains (a national scandal) and J2’s proximity to Heathrow, it was really quite a pleasant and convenient jaunt down the big smoke.

Let’s start with the festival itself – we can’t find fault with it. It takes a lot to satisfy us but this event really did tick all the boxes. Why?

The whole thing has clearly been put together with the experience of the raver in mind. It hasn’t been put together to maximise revenue like a We Are FSTVL or a Reading etc. It’s small and compact but all the stages are brilliant and brilliantly different. The Woods is quirky and well hidden, the iconic Bridge stage is unique and actually loads bigger in real life than it looks in the photos (it’s a hike to the front) but despite being literally under the M4, a very busy road for us northerners, has a brilliant sound system that loses absolutely nothing.

The Warehouse was a dark and bouncing experience and the Stretch was also impressive.

Not as impressive however as the Main Stage which had some great features like platforms around the side that enclosed a huge dance floor but also a brilliant light show and a fantastic sound system. We did get told it was going to be the loudest sound in London this summer although Field Day might have something to say about that and unfortunately we didn’t have our sound monitor handy which are usually in abundance around Victoria Park.

Main Stage at Junction 2 | SHOTAWAY / CHRIS COOPER

The queues and access were brilliant when getting in and getting a drink, staff were friendly and security were the right side of the line when it came to respect and searches (something that is becoming more and more rare in London).

The site itself is pretty small but there’s no issues with sound infiltrating other stages and you can actually go on a bit of an adventure with little pathways through the woods and nice little touches like hammocks and park benches around the place for those who want a little break from the dancing or to relax.

The weather on Friday could have caused all sorts of issues but free ponchos and all the pathways covered in plastic or bark meant that what could have become a bog stayed firm and clean throughout the weekend.

There’s a load of other things we could go into like reasonably priced drinks, free water, re-useable plastic cups, a good choice of food, easy to find, loads of stewards in and out to look after you etc. but the point we’d like to make is that a lot of effort has gone into the planning and it really shows because it was a brilliant experience.

We saw a ton of great artists including Bicep who played a DJ set but dipped into their live show for the last 20 minutes which had everyone going crazy. Maceoplex B2B Tale of Us was a brilliant finale on the Saturday and Adam Beyers set was a stormer.

Richie Hawtin and DJ Koze under the Bridge were both great experiences and Daphni’s turn on the main stage just as the sun really broke through on Friday was my highlight of the weekend.

Anyway, in conclusion, get yourself there next year. Well done Adam Beyer and your team, you absolutely smashed it and the excruciating pain of a 6am alarm and a 9am flight back to Newcastle on Sunday was absolutely worth it. Back to my southern counterparts for the nitty gritty breakdown.

The Bridge at Junction 2 | SHOTAWAY / CHRIS COOPER

The Journey To Junction 2

It’s already been mentioned how easy it was to get to Junction 2 from Newcastle so there is absolutely no way we can moan about having to travel all the way from East London, tbf the only mistake we made was not picking up a couple of train beers.

Getting In To Junction 2

Getting in was super simple. It was only a 10 minute walk from the station so make sure you grab a can for the walk from the Sainsbury Local left out of the station. There was also a handy, well situated porter cabin just outside.

Junction 2 Drink Prices

So Junction 2 has loads of bars around ready for the us punters to spend their tokens…yes I said it, TOKENS! We must admit, we do hate it when a festival has a token system set up. Especially if you are going both days because you won’t be able to use your Friday tokens on the Saturday…so make sure you spend them! Anyway, the drinks prices were 5.5 tokens (£5.50) for a Frontier lager…and Frontier is a tasty lager but they are small can so don’t mug yourself off. Ciders are 6 tokens (£6) and come in an adult size. Spirit and mixers were 6.5 tokens for a single and a whopping 9.5 tokens for a large. They do also have some tasty cocktails if you’re feeling flush ranging from 9.5 – 13 tokens.

Something we did love about the drinks at Junction 2 was the fact that they were doing their part for the environment by serving drinks in reusable cups. You pay 1 token for your cup and you get a £1 back on your way out…which you’ll definitely forget about but it’s the thought that counts.

The Food Options At Junction 2

There was plenty of food options available at Junction 2 in the Food Meadow from Anna Mae’s, Bangwok, Pink Cactus, Meatcure to Popdogs, we went for Popdogs because hotdogs bang!

The Facilities At Junction 2

Plenty of toilets around located near all the main stages, considering the overall size of the festival site there never seemed to be too much queueing so it seemed like there was just enough. Day 2 of the festival is always a tell tell sign on this front but everything was in check.

Junction 2 Security

The security were pretty on it at the festival making sure that everyone was safe. The main stage had a couple of platforms so they were making sure the platforms didn’t go over it’s capacity, nobody wanted platforms collapsing now did they! The security were also a good laugh and in good spirit throwing shapes with everyone too.

The Stages & Music At Junction 2

Junction 2 has 5 all very different and very cool stages. Let’s start with the very impressive Main Stage which had some great features like platforms around the side that enclosed a huge dance floor but also a brilliant light show and a fantastic sound system. Next, the Bridge, which is a huge loonnng stage literally under the M4. The sound system here was also pretty impressive for the fact you couldn’t hear any of the cars going past directly above you. The Warehouse which, you guessed it, was a dark and absolutely bouncing warehouse set up. The Woods was a quirky and well hidden area found on the path between the Bridge and the main site, not huge in space but definitely added to the overall experience. Last but not least was the Stretch, a decent tent with a very good line-up and plenty of space inside and out. Solid vibes as the sun set each day.

What Else Was At Junction 2

Junction 2 were on this new app called Woov. We had never heard of it before going, we’ve been busy ok, but it is pretty cool and apparently used by over 350 festivals across 25 countries…so check it out. Anyway, the app gives you the stage breakdown so you know when all the artists are on, you have a map of the site but the best thing about it is that you can add your friends to it. The app allows you to find your friends on the site map through GPS so no need to worry about 3/4/5/69 G, which we struggled with to upload stuff. Brilliant for looking for your friends that like to wander off on their own. It also has chat room functionality too.

Header image copyright © Luke Dyson

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