The pure magic of Gem & Jam Music Festival cannot simply be described in words. Whether your time was spent vibing out with one of the many acoustic acts like; The Kitchen Dwellers, Infamous String Dusters, or Transcident or if you were just getting down and dirty with the dub artists such as Gramatik, G. Jones, or The Funkhunters... One thing is certain; the times spent and the connections made at this festival are unrivaled by nearly any other production in the scene today.
From the very moment that you first pull into the Pima Fair Grounds, just south of Tucson AZ, you are greeted with the most beautiful, energetic, and happy faces that you could ever imagine giving you crystals and wristbands in exchange for your tickets. It was this high magnitude of positive energy and overall groovy vibes that set the high standard for the weekend from the beginning. We were never disappointed, as our expectations for music, art, and overall experience were exceeded over and over again throughout the weekend. Artists from all over the world including the likes of Aron Brooks, Chris Dyer, Jonathan Singer, Kevin Vigil, Molly Gardener, and many more flocked to this desert oasis to provide psychedelic live visual paintings all weekend for festival goers to enjoy while listening to some of the best musical acts out there. The Stages were lined with crystals, and hand-crafted woodworking that was some of the highest quality that I have ever seen, and the audience was riddled with special art installments and lights all aimed at providing you with the most exceptional experience possible.
The artists, the musicians, and the production quality of this festival were no doubt above and beyond the standard that you would expect for a festival that’s priced as reasonably as Gem & Jam ($200/ 4 Day Pass at the Gate). But there was something else about this little gem of a festival down in the southern deserts of Arizona that made it even more of a beautiful and uplifting experience than I ever could have imagined- the people. Now I’m sure we have all been to plenty of festivals in our lifetime, but the enlightened and overall loving crowd of people that this particular event seems to draw is truly puzzling each and every year. It is truly a diamond in the rough, In fact, some might call it the best kept secret in the festival circuit. What Gem & Jam is becoming, is a miniature burning man; a place in which the only valid currency is love. People in this setting are different from people in other festivals in that they are not out there to make money or profit from other people. On the contrary, these people are simply out there to spread love and positivity and will willingly do so in any way that they possibly can, which includes bringing world class musical acts to the center stage.
This year, more than ever, the production staff responsible for putting on Gem & Jam went all out in providing their loyal festival goers with the festivals undisputed most epic set list yet. This power-house lineup included musical talent from all over the world, spanning several different music genres, with a special emphasis on Electronic Underground and Jamtronica. Each musical act seemed to be equally as awesome as the last, and the overall high energy of the crowd was never lost throughout the weekend. In this sense, pinpointing acts that stood out amongst the sea of golden talent is a very difficult task, but here are a few that caught our attention above all the rest. On Friday night, The Floozies offered up their own blend of funktasticly executed beats in a firework of a show that had audience members going crazy. Saturday Night, was a much different (Yet equally stellar) vibe when G. Jones took the mainstage and proceeded to unleash a spectacular show that can only be described as a full-on space invasion. Heavy tones and bright lasers could likely be felt from outer-space as this bass cadet undoubtedly crushed the scene and brought the party to an all new level! Sunday night’s electronic performances were all but trumped when the Funkhunters took the after party to a new level to close out the weekend. This Canadian duo not only hunted the funk, but also cooked it up and prepared it for the audience in a way that we had never seen before. There’s one thing for sure, and that is that this set surely left everyone in the festival hungry for next year’s Gem & Jam festival.
There are a million reasons for you to check out Gem & Jam festival, from the world class acts to the beautiful sunsets that you can catch a glimpse at each night. If you do decide to make the trek across the desert, the one thing that I urge you to bring with is your sense of adventure and your love light- As these will be the only guiding force that you need when jamming out at this gem of a festival!