Simply put, you’re not going to find a festival like Gem & Jam anywhere. It cleverly piggybacks on the Tucson Gem, Mineral, and Fossil show – the largest gem show in the world – which brings together people from every walk of life you can imagine. For a few weeks every year, Tucson is taken over by sprawling tents on every block, featuring table after table of all sorts of buried treasures. The one thing missing was music! Gem & Jam has certainly filled that void. This special intersection of communities, set to the backdrop of Arizona’s beautiful desert mountains (not to mention sunsets) is what makes Gem & Jam truly one of a kind.
Every year G&J features a pretty impressive lineup, especially for the relatively cheap ticket price. It seems this is made possible by setting up stacked schedules in the evening, while keeping things relatively low key during the day while patrons leave the festival ground to explore the actual Gem show in town. This year may have been the most eclectic lineup to date, with proper representation of every genre possible. Electronic heavy hitters like OPIUO, Gramatik, and a full Desert Hearts showcase, played alongside jam band favorites such as Mike Gordon (Bass player from Phish), Lotus, and a rare all improve The String Cheese Incident side project – The Trancident. Not to mention all the funk you could want from acts like The Motet, The Floozies, and The Russ Liquid Test!