Published on February 24th, 2017 | by gatsbyadmin0
GEM and JAM RECAP
The 11th annual Gem and Jam added a new realm of experiences when they added camping to the four days of fun! The festival expanded from February 2nd-5th and it was truly a place where everyone could leave the stresses of our outside lives to join a close knit, loving and supportive community. Gem and Jam 2017 really exemplified this! In addition to the musical performing talents, there were many performance artists, as well as various workshops involving dance, yoga, massage, hooping and more!
Thursday started off a bit hectic as we arrived later than we anticipated, when we procrastinate everything until the last minute! When we arrived, our vehicle was branded with a marker to identify us as media and we were given very specific directions to, “just park wherever you want.” After aimlessly driving around the lot a few times, we realized there was absolutely no order to the chaos, so we squeezed right in and set up camp. It’s amazing how quickly we made friends with the neighbors around us, when in the “real world”, we typically haven’t said more than three words to our neighbors back at home. For those who wanted to camp in a boutique setting, there were shift pods that were available for an extra pretty penny. That evening, we were jamming out to Eoto, who started playing around midnight. They definitely are not Djs, as they perform live with no pre recorded loops. One fan was hilariously filming the most shaky video ever, as she struggled between wanting to dance and film the jam session for her social media at the same time. Most of us took it easy that night on day one, as this wasn’t our first festival!
Day Two, on Friday, we woke up bright and early as the sun shined right on our faces, to smack us with sunlight! With camp already set up, there was not much left to do but cook good food and do some day drinking with our new friends! We found out that lots of people travelled from far places just to be there. It was such a great vibe of people who attended, and thankfully not too many bros or college kids haven’t seemed to caught wind of this festival yet! HÄANA was an an amazing violinist and vocalist to start off the night as she featured her organic and mysterious music.
On Saturday, we wandered around to visit the vendors and view the live painters that were scattered around the festival grounds. Everywhere you looked, there was a crazy art installations, and public collaboration painting projects, etc. During The Russ Liquid Test, they had a live painter on stage with them. They presented all genres of music for everyone to enjoy, including pulling out the trumpet to show their jazz side. The Russ Liquid Test played some irresistible and soulful music that featured a mixture of funk, jazz and electro. Opiuo was another artist that had kinetic energy that infused each track. There were fire dancers on stage with them and throughout the crowd. Erin Brooks was also on stage left, showing his fearless vision as he was live painting next to Opiuo. We briefly peeked in at the fashion show, but quickly rushed to catch G Jones, where the audience really connected with him as they were dancing along to the music! For one of the last songs, G Jones played a brand new, unreleased track featuring a collaboration with Bassnectar! We love to hear collabs with such equally impassioned musicians.
Day four definitely took a toll on these hippies! We all seemed to take things a little slower on Sunday. We creeped out of our camp earlier than normal however, and realized that lots of people had dragged out pillows and blankets to watch the music, vibe to it, and have the ability to take naps as needed. We joined the crowd and laid down on a blanket as M-Q were playing. As we were laying down, we could feel the vibrations in our chest. M-Q had a joyful sense of synergy, as they included a didgeridoo into their groove to help keep the beat. The painters were also in full force, spread about the lawn. We even left our mark that day on one of the public paint collaboration pieces. The painting was full of various designs including faeries, mushrooms and woozy psychedelia. Speaking of psychedelia, one generous stranger was giving out acid high fives to anyone who wanted to take a undosed trip as dynamic as life itself!
Once Monday rolled around, everyone was packing up and heading home as soon as they got up. Once everyone sobered up, the loud roars from the nearby racetrack started to become more and more apparent. Our new “home” quickly dismantled, and it started to rapidly resemble the parking lot at the Pima County Fairgrounds once again. We can’t explain how much impact was created by adding camping to this festival experience at Gem and Jam! In a way, it feels like all our souls were young again, making new friends at summer camp, and sharing everything with our friends as if they were family. We enjoyed all the high-powered live shows together and we can’t wait till next year!