[REVIEW] Gem & Jam Sets the Tone for a Promising Festival Season

ELCO contributing writer Brandon Lopez went to experience Gem & Jam Festival down in Arizona. Here’s what he had to say…

by Brandon Lopez

Festival grounds:

The energy of the Tucson Gem and Jam festival is unlike any other festival held in the Northern Hemisphere. With the annual Tucson Gem and Mineral show in full swing surrounding the festival grounds, the healing vibrations of crystals from around the globe resonate strongly. People are drawn in from all across the world to enjoy and appreciatethe presence of the earth and life-giving elements. Gemstones and minerals with every metaphysical property imaginable are within arms reach. The abundance of crystals energy resonating throughout the festival grounds was apparent as stones changed hands. This exchange brought about a healing process and balancing of the chakras leaving a refreshingly clean state of body and mind. With all of these crystals around it is impossible not to feel an overwhelming amount of emotion, passion, and tranquility.

Gem and Jam exhibits a love of the earth through a fusion of music, rocks, art and fashion. The music at Gem and Jam was just as diverse as the crystals, with nearly every genre of electronic music represented. Every stage was named after a magnificent crystal or stone, and harmony was found between the festival goers, music, arts and the earth. The Quartz Stage featured a large quartz crystal display, which facilitated a temple like setting, resonating peace, oneness, and compassion.


Gramatik delivered a show which was everything I was hoping for, beginning with the new Grizmatik track “As we Proceed” and continuing to mix many other favorite Griz and Grizmatik tracks throughout the set.  Gramatik’s mix of electro, trip hop, glitch, jazz and blues made for a soul soothing wave of beats setting sail to the inner soul on a journey across the musical sea.

Towards the end of Saturday night, G Jones fused new and the older setlists. The highlight of my night was when G Jones threw in the mix his track Lavender town. The music of G Jones is best experienced with a kicking bass system so that you can experience the shapes of his music. With beats that alternate between high and low frequencies, listening to a G-jones track feels like you are in motion, across a shape-shifting landscape. This Santa Cruz native put on a show that the crowd was sad to see come to an end. The looks on everyone’s face glowed with wanting more yet being utterly satisfied at the same time. The energy of the crowd was something that every artist dreams of and G Jones left me wondering how the hell such a perfect set could exist.

During a late night set at the Onyx stage, Desert Hearts lived up to its motto of “House, Techno & Love” bringing about compassionate vibes. The crowd was encouraged to dive into their love of the music by living in the moment; temporarily eliminating the everyday stressors that one has to deal with. As the loving vibes of Desert Hearts filled the house with techno all stress seemed to melt away. Inner creativity, passion, and acceptance blossomed.
Food Recommendation: 

This festival was much bigger than just a concert, and the talent shone brightly across then food scene as well.  After all, what is a festival without a super heady food scene?  And what is a more heady food than a taco? Not much, which is why I found myself extremely satisfied getting a taco from Super Heady Tacos stand based out of Boulder, Colorado. I advise you give Super Heady Tacos a chance if you are blessed to have them around. I guarantee after you wolf down a “Lightning” and “Thunder” taco you will be rolling like a boulder in pure bliss. Not feeling the meat? Then you’ll be singing “Kale-Yeah!” as you discover just how amazing vegetarian festival food can get.


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Hi! We started ELCO back in 2012 and have had a blast every step of the way. Music, especially electronic, is our passion, and spreading the good vibes across this beautiful state that we live in is our goal. If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, please email us through our Contact page. Thanks!