The 11th annual Gem & Jam Festival was a truly extraordinary experience. Hundreds of festival-goers journeyed to the Pima County Fairgrounds in Tucson, Ariz. for a weekend full of camping, music and visual performances, live artists, workshops and lectures, late night shows, and much more.
The weekend began with a chill, yet bumpin’, pre-party on Thursday night. Those who had already arrived at the festival grounds gathered at one of the stages to watch performances by Project Aspect, Jaw Gems, Eoto, and other artists. Enthusiasm and smiles were abundant, and it was clear that everyone was ready to have a great weekend.
Friday morning, and the official start to the festival, began with the phrase “Wake up and rage.” For the first few hours, an unidentified festival attendee shouted this phrase out to the campgrounds about every 15 minutes. Surprisingly, he didn’t continue to do this for the rest of the weekend, but as the weekend progressed, all of the attendees undoubtedly took this message to heart. The night in which this was most evident was Saturday night. The musical lineup for Saturday featured performances by Opiuo, G Jones, and Gramatik. It’s hard to choose which performance was the best, because they were all incredible, but the standout was definitely G Jones. His performance could best be described as a non-stop get-down. For a straight hour and a half, everyone in the crowd was dancing as G Jones provided a delightfully distinctive performance.
The rest of the weekend passed in a remarkable and intense blur. From the official music performances in the festival grounds to impromptu jam sessions by festival attendees in the campgrounds, and from official arts and crafts vendors to informal roaming sellers, Gem & Jam provided attendees with both gems and jams everywhere they went. Performance art, art installations, and live artists were also plentiful, showcasing Gem & Jam’s objective of producing more than just a music festival. Also present were several different workshops and lectures, such as Acro Yoga Flow For All, which was led by Cirque Roots. Overall, all of the different elements of Gem & Jam Festival combined to create a fully immersive experience, one that went beyond just a music festival and left a huge impression on attendees.
Check out our full set of photos from the festival here.