Written by Jocelyn Dietrich
All photos courtesy of Gem & Jam website
Birthed from one of the largest gem and mineral gatherings in the world, humbly presenting over 50 artists, five stages, and various arts of all medias, Gem & Jam returns for it’s 12th year of metaphysical rhythm and wonder next week, January 25th-28th. This annual music and arts festival is nestled in the foothills of Tucson, AZ with a desert backdrop accented by the peaks of Mica Mountain. Gem & Jam will be returning to the Pima County Fairgrounds for the second time, and the lineup is looking extra exciting this year–including headliners like Papadosio and STS9, and collaborations such as Breaking Biscuits (Brownie and Magner from The Disco Biscuits and Deitch and Lee of Break Science).
The forecast in the desert is shaping up to be a comfortable low 70’s in the day to mid 40’s in the evening. Even those who are making the pilgrimage from the East coast won’t be in too much of a climate shock! With music starting around 12 o’clock noon and ending somewhere around five o’clock am this festival has all the ingredients necessary to tickle damn near every one’s fancy- late night drippy womp, to evening funk or bluegrass, and even some midday down tempo. If you are a festival goer and wish to head off the grounds to check out some the Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase magic, make sure to leave your vehicle (no re entry), but don’t expect to be at a loss for things to do because beyond the gems and the jams there are a plethora of workshops, artists and fun to be seen and had at Gem and Jam.
5 Reasons You Can’t Miss Gem and Jam
- The music, but of course! As stated earlier, there are some killer headliners, and also up and comers worth making the trip! Masego – the trap, house, jazz combo – singer rapper will be sharing the Emerald stage with Telluride based bluegrass band Head For the Hills. Live electronic roots, musical mad scientist, SaQi will play the Tanzanite stage just before Railroad Earth, then right into Emancipator, Papadosio, and STS9. The late night stage boasts sets from Michal Menert, Russ Liquid, and John Kadlecik Fellowship of the Wings.
- The Gem Show! Gem and Jam is a product of Tucson, Arizona hosting the world’s largest gem, mineral and fossil extravaganza. Over 55,000 people flock to Tucson each year during the three weeks of the showcase, thus creating the perfect atmosphere to develop, grow, and water this eclectic music and arts festival, using the love, light, beauty and creativity that comes along with the Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase.
- Workshops! Gem and Jam’s workshop schedule is as stacked as their music lineup. Complete with an opening and closing ceremony, discussions and “How To” workshops, yoga all day, and even cacao ceremonies – the workshop schedule spans from physical to metaphysical, to permaculture to counter culture.
- The scenery! Tucson is one of the country’s oldest continually inhabited cities situated right smack dab in the middle of the desert. The Saguaro National Park, home to the largest cacti, the saguaro, surrounds Tucson, giving you a very stereotypical, yet iconic view from the desert oasis of Gem and Jam.
- Performance artists and live painters! A music festival in the middle of a desert, near a historically and culturally rich city like Tucson naturally has a magical vibe to it. The music and workshop line up only enhance that vibe, which then brings us to the icing on the cake — live painters and performance artists of Gem and Jam. The artists and painters bring color and life from the stage to the crowd, connecting us all in beautiful and magical ways.
So buy the ticket, take the ride, meet me out in Tucson, Arizona next week for the epic event situated in the midst of another epic event! An epic inception — Gem and Jam!