Junction 2 (UK) event artwork

Junction 2 (UK)

Jun 3 - 5, 2022
United Kingdom
Boston Manor Park

Brentford, United Kingdom


Words by: Harry Levin

Junction 2 puts the music before everything.

That may sound like the bare minimum for a music festival. After all, “music” makes up half of the term. But with every passing year, the music festival market biomes more saturated, and every new event has to find a way to stand out.

Junction 2, however, only needs the music to stand out. It premiered in 2016 on a June afternoon in London. According to Will Harold, co-founder of the festival, it was “born out of our passion for music,” and that passion has developed into one of the most in-demand music events of the year.

Looking back at Junction 2 rosters between 2016 and 2019, it becomes clear that diversity on all levels is a salient principle of their booking strategy. Each stage is curated more on energy rather than concrete details like tempo, label, or the Beatport category most likely associated with the artists in question.

For example, at Junction 2 2016, the Drumcode stage housed familiar favorites like Adam Beyer and Ida Engberg, and a rare Modular Pursuits live set from Detroit legend Carl Craig. 

By 2019 some of the most respected musical forces in the UK curated the stages.

The legendary nightlife institution Fabric took over (rather under) the infamous Bridge stage on the first night with a lineup primed for  Room 1. Innervisions boss Dixon (who is practically always booked as a closer) played in the middle of the day while Fabric regulars Craig Richards and Ricardo Villalobos joined forces to close out the night with a back-to-back set.

London’s premier record shop, Phonica, also curated a stage in 2019, bringing the effortless funk of Motor City Drum Ensemble and Hunee under the tent at The Stretch, one of the chiller corners of Junction 2.

All this was happening while the festival founders booked the Main Stage, where Tale of Us and Maceo Plex rallied for six hours, each playing their own set then closing with a back-to-back.

For 2022, no stage hosts are announced, but there is a lineup, and it’s a surefire pick for one of the best of the year. On very few events do you see the throbbing techno of Kobosil next to the organic world music of Four Tet. There will also be live sets galore from the likes of 999999999, Dense & Pika, E-Dancer (A.K.A. Kevin Saunderson), and Fatima Yamaha.

But beyond the eclectic sounds, Junction 2 is an event that inspires loyalty among the artists. Adam Beyer has played every event starting in 2016 with his Drumcode friends in tow. Dixon will be returning for their third consecutive festival. 

That kind of commitment to one event displays a deep connection to its values and a deep love for the energy. There is no doubt that love and harmony will come out in sets from regulars. Furthermore, it will be compounded after so much time off due to the pandemic and the fact that this will be the biggest Junction 2 yet.

Initially, Junction 2 hosted 10,000 people for a one-day affair, expanding to two days in its third year and hosting 30,000 people across an entire weekend for their latest edition. 

Throughout that time, Junction 2 stayed at the same venue, Boston Manor Park, on the west side of London. The hallmark of the location is the stage known as The Bridge.

As the name would suggest, The Bridge lies beneath a highway that runs through the park’s center. With concrete and steel interlocking overhead while grass, trees, and steady-flowing streams flank the dancefloor, The Bridge offers an authentic underground experience punctuated by the serenity of nature.

This stage has stood strong since 2016 and serves as the nucleus of Junction 2. The event started with three stages and has since expanded to five stages over the three following years. Now the event allows attendees to fully explore the city-wrapped village green, enjoying the sights and (more importantly) sounds that fit the diverse environment.

There is a temporary indoor complex known as The Warehouse where experimental heavy hitters like Objekt and Amelie Lens have performed. Finally, the Woods is a shaded cove where the slower, sexier sounds of Nicolas Lutz and Ben UFO have a home.

Junction 2 does not offer VIP amenities to further their commitment to the music. Everyone is equal on the dance floor. Everyone pays the same price and gets the same sound and view. This is the type of festival people want post-COVID. After two years of forced separation, why seclude yourself at a festival by hiding away in VIP? Get on the dance floor and enjoy the energy of those around you.

That commitment extends beyond the event to the Junction 2 presence on the internet. Like many events, their website has a “news” section, but in this section, the considerable majority of the posts are dedicated to new music. 

Regular pieces include monthly roundups of new releases, whether the artists have played Junction 2 or not. They’ve also curated an original mix series and two Spotify playlists. Junction 2 Selects is a biweekly curation from the event’s staff of favorites and hidden gems, while Junction 2 Office Picks is made up of songs specifically played in Junction 2’s office as the team is hard at work making the next festival happen.

Junction 2 returns to Boston Manor Park on June 3-4, 2022. Same weekend of the year. Same convenient location. Not much has changed about Junction since its launch in 2016. The music still comes first, and at this rate, it always will.

Event Spotlight

London is known the world over for its unique, historic, and fascinating club culture. Institutions like Fabric, XOYO, Ministry of Sound, Printworks, and more have welcomed artists from all over the world and fostered musical exploration that’s shifted the course of dance music’s evolution. Junction 2 is a festival that manifests London’s unique, historic, and fascinating club culture in an outdoor, multi-stage environment. “Junction 2 was always designed to be the festival that we felt that London was missing,” says co-founder Will Harold. “[London] was one of the places where club culture had developed and taken on a London identity. You get that in different periods whether it’s Detroit, Berlin, Ibiza. There are these different areas where club culture has evolved and created its own pockets and melting pots. London really had that and I don’t think any of the festivals quite captured that.” Harold is a product of that London club culture. As he speaks to Gray Area over Zoom from London, he jokes about failing his university degree twice because he spent too much time in nightclubs.  Unsurprisingly, Harold’s parents were less than thrilled at the idea of their son quitting school to party, but their disapproval served as his motivation. He wanted to prove that he made the right decision to pursue event organization, and after years of hustling, he did just that. “I started from the ground up. Handing out flyers. Working behind bars. Grew slowly and steadily, worked my way through a bunch of different venues,” Harold says.  Harold would go on to cut his teeth booking some of the most in-demand club nights in London for venues like Fabric and Matter. Matter, unfortunately, closed down, but it was through that closure that Harold connected with fellow promoter Paul Jack, who became Harold’s partner in founding Junction 2. With their shared experience working in the London nightlife industry, Harold and Jack were assured of the values around which they could build a festival that embodied the city’s club culture. First and foremost it was imperative that the event be rooted in techno. To give their artists the room to breathe and take the dancefloor on a journey they pledged no short sets (most DJs are just getting started at one hour). There's no VIP at Junction 2 because techno is supposed to be non-pretentious. The production is stellar and you will never see a white plastic tent. Harold and Jack also pledged to bring together like-minded people and maintain unmatched attention to detail in everything they produced. “That is what we wanted to deliver,” Harold says. “There are times when I pull those things back up and I throw it back at the team and tell them ‘Let’s not lose sight of this because this is what made it magic in the first place.’” The success of Junction 2 demonstrates that Harold was right about the magic. The festival has only completed four editions (with the fifth being delayed numerous times due to COVID-19) and in that time the event has expanded to two days and tripled in size from 10,000 to 30,000 people, adding two new stages in the process making five total. This growth wasn’t entirely smooth according to Harold, but sticking to the original tenants is what guided them to create what is now one of the most revered events in the UK. “Year one we lost a tiny bit of money. Year two we lost an absolutely staggering amount of money, but it was one of the shows I’m most proud of, that we’ve ever put on,” Harold says. “We came back for year three and we didn’t change anything. Even though we lost a lot of money in year two we knew [we were] on the right path, and it’s that sort of gut instinct as a promoter, that singularity of vision—we knew what we wanted to create. We knew the fans were buying into it because we were the same fans. We were creating a festival that we wanted to go to.” A key reason why Harold and the rest of the team would want to go to Junction 2 is the programming, which Harold still oversees directly. That responsibility would also extend to musical entities hosting the stages. For the most recent edition of the event, celebrated London record store Phonica and Croatia’s Sonus Festival each hosted a stage. The original philosophy behind the bookings for Junction 2 was simple, “music first,” which stems from the original tenants of the festival. For years this philosophy served them well, but following the Black Lives Matter movement, Harold and the team committed to make changes that would make their booking process more inclusive. Beyond consciously including more female, BIPOC, and queer artists on the lineup for the upcoming addition (which they did an excellent job of doing), this inclusivity begins within the Junction 2 team. “We have a team of bookers who work with myself to do all the programming but then we also have monthly sessions with the whole team where we have open booking,” Harold says. “We sit down with the bookers leading the session with anyone who wants to join from the whole organization. Doesn’t matter whether you’re from the finance team or from the marketing team or the operations team. You’re welcome to come and sit down talk about what we’re booking, why we’re booking it, what music you’ve heard, who you like, who’s doing for you, who’s not, and we review that openly and transparently.” Overall, as a tried and true raver, Harold understands that dance music was founded on inclusivity, and while there is still work to be done to make the scene truly inclusive for all walks of life, he takes the responsibility of booking a major festival seriously. He has the ability to influence that trajectory, and this sense of duty is shared by the entire team along with a true love for the dance floor. “Ultimately, we’re all ravers. Even if we don’t spend as much time on the dancefloor as we probably once used to, that’s where we cut our teeth and that’s where our passion was,” Harold says. “I can say for certain that every event I’ve ever put on I’ve got on the dancefloor.”


Boston Manor Park

Boston Manor Road

Brentford, England

United Kingdom

Get directions

Travel Adventure

Dec 18, 2021

Harry Levin

5 min read

The United Kingdom is by far one of the best destinations on Earth for house music. Hundreds of festivals dot the island every summer, offering every manner of lineup and environment in which to dance. Many of them reside in arm’s reach of the nation’s capital of London. 

Junction 2 is one of those festivals, nesting in Boston Manor Park on the west side of London. With this considerable proximity, attendees have full access to one of the most historic cities in the world. A trip to Junction 2 is a trip to London, and London offers endless activities for travelers to enjoy.

Spend a day as a tourist hitting all the famous landmarks like Big Ben, Tower of London, Parliament, and Piccadilly Circus. Hang around Buckingham Palace to see the change of the guard. Then, get a ticket to The Eye of London and see the whole city from the top of the massive Ferris Wheel.

There are also dozens of museums, including The British Museum (where the Rosetta Stone is on display), The Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Tate Modern offering everything from historical artifacts to modern art.

Since this is intended to be a guide for those traveling to London for a festival, experiencing music in the city is surely a priority. Thankfully, Junction 2 happens during the Summer, which means all of London’s musical options will be available.

If after attending a large outdoor festival like Junction 2 you prefer an intimate club experience, legendary institutions like Fabric, EggLondon, Ministry of Sound, The Nest, and XOYO run long into the morning. 

Fabric, London

London is one of the few cities in the world that employs a Night Czar. The Night Czar is a government official who ensures that the city recognizes nightlife as an invaluable cultural asset.

READ THIS NEXT: Inside Ministry of Sound: An Interview with Founding DJ, Justin Berkmann

London’s Night Czar is named Amy Lamé, and she works with police and other municipal bodies to keep nightlife safe and functioning for tourists and locals alike. Before she was Night Czar, Lamé spent years working to keep nightlife establishments like the cabaret club Royal Vauxhall Tavern open.

Beyond nightlife, there are dozens of venues all around the city catering to all genres. See iconic bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers at the London Stadium, or check out the more modest Eventim Apollo, where the art-pop muse St. Vincent is scheduled to perform in June 2022.

The Barbican Center is another excellent opportunity to engage with London culture, as the multipurpose space offers numerous types of entertainment. You can explore art exhibitions, watch movies, visit their conservatory, take architecture tours, and of course, watch musical performances. Given the more polished nature of the surroundings, expect performances from jazz musicians and classical symphonies at The Barbican.

For those who enjoy similar refined sounds, the London theater district in the West End is known the world over for hosting musicals and plays. Famous shows like Les Misérables have been playing for decades, and modern classics like The Book Of Mormon and Hamilton frequently return to one of the West End’s almost 40 different theatres.

While London is undoubtedly the cultural center of the UK, there are also dozens of cities on the island that are between a 90 minute and two-hour train ride away that offer their own individual cultural identity.

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Leeds, Birmingham, and Sheffield are just a few major cities with significant historical and artistic contributions to the UK and the world. Don’t forget to visit Liverpool and see where the Beatles first became a band. 

Manchester is another major city worth visiting. Even though football won’t be in season at the time of Junction 2, visiting Old Trafford and Etihad Stadium is never a bad use of time.


There are hundreds of hotels, a short tube ride from the Boston Manor Park, and a short tube ride from the city center. Choose a hotel based on the experience of London you’d like. Suburban to urban to rural. 

Most hotels with a few miles of the venue range from $50-200 a night.

Hotels in the city center of London range from $150-500 a night, with luxury options as well.

Flight Costs On Average.

London Heathrow is one of the largest airports in the world and offers service from all around the globe. As an American-based entity, we compiled the flight costs from various populated areas at publishing. As dates for the festival get closer, flight costs will increase

LA ~$800

New York ~$600

Chicago ~$800

Seattle ~$1000

San Francisco ~$800

DFW ~$1100

Miami ~$800

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