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