From the minute we arrived at the Pima County Fairgrounds for the 11th annual Gem & Jam Music Festival, we knew something was different. You could feel it in the air, and radiating off the people wandering around the seemingly absent festival grounds in the daytime. From an outsider’s perspective, it may have seemed like a post apocalyptic deleted scene from Thunderdome, but to us and many other festival goers, it just felt like something special was brewing…
As the sun set, and an unfortunate and unnerving cold set in, you could feel a combating air of excitement and anticipation bubbling under the surface. Soon the festival grounds became illuminated with neon lights, psychedelic artwork, hulahoopers, and fire jugglers at every corner. It was truly an expected sight to behold, and almost too much to take in. What once looked like a scarce steampunk wasteland in the day, was now glittered with dancing bodies hugging and loving each other to the sweet sounds of Jam and EDM style music.
People came from all over the country to see legendary acts like Mike Gordon, The Infamous Stringdusters, Gramatik, Opiuo, and so many more. With two main stages and two smaller ones, Gem & Jam truly made a name for itself by offering it’s attendees complete uninterrupted musical sets with little to no conflicts. Festival goers were able to easily walk from one stage to another with out any pushing or shoving and still able to get a great view to the next big act.
But it was some of the smaller acts that really caught our attention and had us spending most of our time at the Quartz stage. Acts featured this episode like:
The Kitchen Dwellers
What really blew us away more than anything though was the crowd. Gem & Jam had one of the least egotistical and friendliest crowds we’ve come across. There was not a single person shoving to the front pulling a chain of people behind them with no regard for the people who came earlier. Nor did we see a single phone out during any set. Every attendee seemed like they were there only to enjoy the music and nothing else. On top of that, with the lax security (which we loved) Gem & Jam was also was of the most self-governing crowds as well! Everyone was taking care of everyone else and we did not see one person abandoned or struggling. For the full review be sure to subscribe and listen to the full episode below:
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