[The Audiofiles] Jam Out With Your Gems Out This Weekend at the 9th Annual Gem + Jam Festival

Countdowns aren’t just for Birthdays; countdowns are perfect for vacations, graduations, and most importantly – festivals.  Yep. Festivals.  I can get through any humdrum week if I know that on the other end of it, I have some tasty beats coming my way – so all week, regardless of how much work gets handed on my plate, I’ve just kept swimming because I know the sweetness of Gem and Jam Festival is literally just on the other side.

Preparing for a road trip isn’t new news at this point, after a year of gallivanting the West Coast in search of the latest and greatest in Bass Music and Transformational Festivals, I’ve more or less turned into a pro.  Also, let it be known that if it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would ever get done; like, packing, for example.  But as I ambush my dirty laundry, I can update my playlists, sort through my SpiritHoods and reminisce about Festivals Past, elated epiphanies and manifesting good company.  There’s nothing quite like a road trip, and in the words of Hunter S Thompson – I bought the ticket, time to take the ride.  After a bit of counting, Danny and I’ve adventured through California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Canada, Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire – which marks Arizona as our 10th state together, and means we’ve conquered 20% of the USA.  Fuck yeah.

Not only is this a monumental milestone, but I’ve heard such outstanding things about the Gem and Jam Festival – and I’m thrilled that I get to experience it firsthand.  Hosted by the collaborative minds at Infinite Music, Euphonic Conceptions, New Earth MuZIQ and Challenger, the Festival is entering it’s 9th year – and it’s doing it in style.  Visionary, spiritual artists and leaders Alex and Allyson Grey head up the lineup, followed by a menagerie of musicians ready to rock your socks off.  Thriftworks, Russ Liquid, Random Rab, Girrafage, Vibesquad, Kaminanda, Krooked Drivers….each and every one of the acts is so influential in the West Coast Bass scene.  To give you a little taste of the musical excellence Tucson’s about to experience, take a listen to this playlist we’ve expertly assembled.

Held in parallel with Tucson’s infamous Gem and Mineral Show, which draws upwards of 50,000 personalities from across the globe, festival is a welcome counterpart; providing the perfect pairing of exceptional, sensory arts and the natural beauty of the Earth. Through performance art, live art, workshops, lectures, food vendors and the salacious sonic talent of the musical roster – the Gem and Jam Festival is sure to pique all the senses, providing the groundwork for another exceptional weekend with a stellar community of artists.

Expect nothing short of greatness as each night features the interstellar artwork of Alex and Allyson Grey, plush with lecture, visuals from the always astounding Jonathan Singer, Live Painting, Live Workshops, immersive installations and late night treats including after parties, a Silent Disco and so much more!  A cornerstone of Arizona’s emerging Bass Vibe, this year’s roster is stacked to the brim with acts who truly embody what it means to ‘Jam out’.  From North Carolina Quintet Papadosio to the unique and highly anticipated appearances Emancipator Ensemble and Michael Menert Trio, which is a treat unto itself, electronic instrumental trio Lost Optical hailing from Denver and Late Night Radio’s retrofitted electronic reinterpretation of Hip Hop to some honest lyrics from Zion I’s Amp Live, this year’s Gem & Jam has a little bit of something for every music lover.  My only problem is the time conflicts and they abound! Because how are we supposed to choose between Late Night Radio and the Michal Menert Trio, Lost Optical (a brand new favorite) or Thriftworks (tried and true trippy beats), Krooked Drivers and LTJ Buken, or Andrelien and Psydell, or Papadosio and Pumpkin? Like they say in the Little Mermaid: life’s full of tough choices, dearie.  But if these are the toughest choices I have to make this weekend – sign me up!

Main Lineup

Gem-And-Jam-Schedule

Afterparty Lineup

Art Workshops

With the the likes of Welch Brothers, Amanda Sage, Jonathan Singer, Jef Logan, Xavi Panneton, and Benedigital, on top of Alex & Allyson Grey, prepare to open your mind, and even your third eye, to pick up what these talented individuals are putting down – live.

We’ve got an exclusive sneak peak of Benedigital live painting at the Envision Festival Pre-Party with Gem and Jam Headliner Kaminanda just the other week from our good friend over at Boom Chamber.

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For more on Gem and Jam, head to their website or socials:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Got the itch, come scratch it – tickets are still available here.

Thank you to Daniel Leist Photography, Boom Chamber Productions, Envision, and the Luminous Movement for the additional images.

[The Audiofiles] Tricks, Treats and Beats – How HARD’s Day of the Dead Won Halloweekend

The last thing a lay-person would expect descending on the Pomona Fairplex is a gaggle of grown-ups, dressed to the nines that more closely resemble the lost boys of Peter Pan than a group, fully ready to self-indulge in one of the best Halloweekends that Southern California has to offer.  As a tried and true fan of HARD Events, not only was I at the very first HARD Haunted, but I’ve followed the festivals around from The Forum to The Shrine, from LA’s Exposition Park and now – to my new favorite venue of in the Los Angeles ‘region’ – The Pomona Fairplex.  I was there when HARD Summer was shut down during Crystal Castles, and I’ve seen more acts than I can count give the crowd lessons in heavy bass.  The last event of theirs I went to was last year’s HARD Summer – and I made what I thought was an executive decision at the time that this would be my last HARD Festival, ever.

Heading into this year’s Day of the Dead, I literally had no expectations – sure, there were DJ sets that I was drooling over, and I was excited for it to be in a brand spankin’ new location; but I was ready for anything – and blown away by everything. From from Dubstep to Electro House, Deep House to Trap, for two days and nights, twenty two hours on 5 Different Stages – the crowd at the Pomona Fairplex was treated to some ghoulishly good treats and bass infused beats that you can’t help but shuffle your feet to.  What made it so epic? Well, glad you asked!

Location, Location, Location

One thing about shifting locations, is that it’s brand spankin’ new for everyone – from Gary Richards, the head honcho of HARD himself, to the artists and right on down to the fans: this was a new adventure, and we were all down for the ride.  Though the venue itself sits about 45 minutes outside of LA proper, it’s only about half as far from LA as the NOS Center in San Bernadino where Escape from Wonderland raged for two days – which is pretty excellent PLUR-spective.  Once you made it to the Fairplex and navigated the various lines to park, get your tickets and then descend into the grounds themselves – it was game on!  Everywhere you turned, there was ample space to move and groove, as well as space to wait for your crew, a plethora of delicious food trucks for anyone who got the munchies, an expansive row of patrons helping out in the various beer gardens and new friends everywhere you turned.  In the past, I’ve had a time pushing through crowds, getting elbowed on the dance floor and having an all around claustrophobic clusterfuck of an experience – this is the first HARD event where they really accounted for how many bassheads would be in attendance, and how much room they’d all need to go HAAM on the dance floor. Kudos for finding such a prime piece of festival real estate; I can’t wait until we’re all back there together!

 All Star Performances

It typically goes without mentioning that the entire roster of artists is on point for such a high caliber festival, but every set that I danced my ass off to was a phenomenal auditory adventure that had my whole crew looking around at each other to make sure we all knew how amazing it was.  Whether you were an instant Superfriend during Zhu’s debut US performance, were front and center while Mau5ville opened up with Longest Road, took part in Sunday’s Dirtybird BBQ with Eats Everything, Justin Martin, ShibaSan and the Master himself – Claude VonStroke, or lost your mind when Bassnectar put on a masterclass of mixing – there were an infinite number of reasons I was proud to be back home, so to speak, surrounded by beautifully bouncing souls that were set free on the dance floor.

 So Much Room for Activities

Going into the weekend, I was already excited for the Zip Lining, Ferris Wheel and stages – but what I hadn’t prepared for was how expansive the grounds really were.  No joke, when I checked the Health app on my phone after one day at the festival it told me we walked 5 miles. Fitness aside, yet another wonderful trait of the fairgrounds is it’s size. There were 5 large stages set up and none of the noise from the stages bled together.  To top it off, everyone knows that at a festival you’re going to run into people: there’s just so much energy, and enough confusion, that you’re literally going to bump into strangers and friends alike.  Instead, like I was saying earlier, it was like everyone finally had enough of a personal bubble that it wasn’t an issue.  We even managed to have a 10+ person yoga session smack dab in the middle of everything.  To my complete surprise and utter happiness, this festival didn’t have same anxiety, pushing, low grumble of negative energy from people invading your personal bubble.  Instead, we all bumped, danced, grinded, jumped and got down in a whole new realm of comfort.

Costumes

Last, and most certainly not least – how could I forget about the myriad of mind blowing outfits and costumes I saw over the weekend.  Now, I’m more of an ‘I’m Always a Cat’ girl – no, really; I always have cat ears when I’m out at festivals – to boot, I’m a tried and true testament to the fact you’ll enjoy yourself more if you’re comfortable.  For me, that honestly means rocking it out in uber comfy clothes (a tank top, leggings, flat boots) and cat ears.  but it was great to see how creative people could get!  Of course, things got a little bit ratchet at HARD – but would you honestly expect anything less? For as many people were dressed up in costumes or dressed down in their cats and casuals, as I think I’ll forever call it, but there were a good number of fist pumping bros and girls wearing pasties, bras and Little Black Diamond shorts.   I have the utmost respect for people who strut their stuff and don’t have a mind for what others think, but to the same token – and potentially, a symptom of my age – I kept wanting to put clothes on some of the girls; they looked freezing!  But, once the sun went down – but inside the Fairgrounds, surrounded by the warmth of the dancefloor and a rampage of ravers – it was incredibly warm and downright comfortable.

I can’t wait for the next HARD Festival, and I surely hope more Southern California EDM Production Teams start taking advantage of that Primo Festival Real Estate.

Keep tabs on HARD for their highly acclaimed international and national festival dates through their website and socials –

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Soundcloud

Still can’t get over the weekend? No sweat, we’ve got some excellent pre-DOTD Soundcloud mixes sure to get you groovin’ into the long weekend: