Aside from being the exclusive music promoters at the fantastic Tobacco Dock, London Warehouse Events works across an array of the capital’s most idiosyncratic venues to promote and produce events spanning electronica, techno, house and more. With LEAF and Red Bull Music Academy among its list of collaborators, LWE is now embarking on its first fully-fledged foray into the festival world with the techno-centric Junction 2 this June.
Insights spoke with the three key members of the LWE team: Operations Manager Alice Favre, Artist Booker Will Harold, and Head of Marketing Paul Jack – about what we can expect from Junction 2.
Festival Insights: Although the location of Junction 2 is yet to be unveiled, could you discuss some of the qualities you were looking for in the festival’s venue? Have there been any challenges in finding and developing a suitable space?
LWE: Finding a location in London is always hard, especially when looking for something unusual and unique – a combination which is paramount when putting on events as LWE. We found those qualities when we came across Tobacco Dock and since then it has been difficult to find an outdoor location that could match or surpass our expectations, and on the rare occasions we think we have cracked it we have come up against issues like licensing, transport, sound or even a sympathetic and supportive landlord to rent it to you.
FI: LWE is partnering with the event & festival production specialist The Fair on bringing Junction 2 to life. How did the partnership form, and what exactly will The Fair be responsible for on the event?
LWE: We have been working with The Fair for over a year now, with Nick and the team primarily acting as location scouts and advising us on whether an event could actually happen, mainly by sending them Google maps links and pictures and then leaving them to do what they do best – investigating the viability of the space. The Fair are currently playing a central role throughout the licensing process for Junction 2, working closely with us on health & safety and consulting on various aspects of site management.
FI: Drumcode, The Hydra and Closer have been named as curators for the festival. What was it that attracted to you to utilising external curators, and why these ones in particular?
LWE: External isn’t really the correct way to describe it – Drumcode and Adam Beyer are a brand and artist we love and have worked with since the very start of LWE just over 6 years ago, and therefore a very natural partner for us to work with on the next stage of our joint evolution. The Hydra are hugely respected promoters in London that we share a very similar ethos with, both musically and production wise, we have been working with Dolan and the team on a regular basis since we launched events at Tobacco Dock. Closer is our own brand and focuses on extended sets from artists we respect and admire. What unites the three partners is the shared love of this style of music, techno.
FI: Aside from the music, will Junction 2 have any other forms of entertainment on offer?
LWE: We are working on it! The key focus is music and high-end production but at the same time I am sure there will be something to discover here and there. As the festival grows and we get comfortable with the site and its nuances we will add in other forms of art and fun… it’s a very unusual location with plenty of enclaves and areas to expand into. We have some great ideas up our sleeve.
FI: ‘No VIP’ has been touted as a feature of the festival in its initial announcement, tying in with the ethos of techno, the primary genre on display. Considering the fact that certain festivals now segregate their audiences based on the type of ticket purchased, do you think festival ‘hospitality’ is occasionally going too far?
LWE: I think it works for some and not for others. It really depends on the audience you want to attract and type of experience you want to offer to the customer. For us it’s a case of one ticket, one collective experience. VIP priced tickets are very much a new thing in festival land though and has really expanded over the last few years. We can understand why it is necessary to charge more though, budgets don’t always allow for those luxuries.
FI: Another cornerstone of Junction 2, and that of any decent music festival, is its ‘high-end’ production setup. Are you able to disclose which specific suppliers you’re going to for this?
LWE: We have worked with most of our suppliers closely for the last 6 years and have great relationships with them. A lot have grown with us, having started out as smaller rental companies. A lot of our bigger contracts are still out for tender but we have definitely decided on engaging Festival Loo and their compost toilets where possible, alongside our usual supplier of portaloos, Lav Hire. On the lighting side we will be using Wolf Lighting, from Bournemouth, who we have worked with for the last 3 years. Staging will come from Pro Productions who we have also worked with for over 4 years and who, mainly because of us, stock the largest number of rental 8×2 and 6×2 litedeck in the UK. On the creative side, finishing touches will come from A Different World – who are also known for Silver Hayes at Glastonbury amongst other things – who we have worked with for over 6 years. Security will come from London stalwarts Saber Security and bars will be operated by the slick Soulshakers who we have been working with for a year since East London Events – who also grew with us from the start – sadly moved on to other projects, no longer working in bars and staffing. This was a big blow to us as Matt & Karen had been an integral part of producing events. Luckily Matt is still with us, under a different guise.
What is fairly unique about LWE is that we are a production outfit as well as a promoter. We have an excellent and tight knit team who we employ full time to work across multiple projects. We have a marketing team, production team, bookings team and an accountant – all in house.
FI: How has LWE’s experience in working on LEAF and other events informed the organisation of Junction 2?
LWE: Doing LEAF was a great experience, we now know how to run a conference! But it was just one of the many events we have run at Tobacco Dock and it is the collective experience of doing all our different shows that we have learnt our trade. From promoting, to booking, to planning, to crowd movement, bars, toilets… the list goes on and on and keeps growing each time we do another show.
FI: What else can we expect from Junction 2?
LWE: An excited and dedicated team who are looking to make their mark on the UK music and festival scene. A great line up of some of the most exciting DJs and artists form all over the world.
A focus on the boring nuts and bolts of the operation, to try and minimise the boring essential functions of your day.
Great music and a lot of fun.