Gem & Jam 2023 – A Rockin’ Good Time!
Gem & Jam 2023 took over the Arizona Desert in the most spectacular of ways!!
This year’s Gem & Jam Festival was bigger and better than any year before. The lasers, bass, and heaps of creativity took over the Tucson desert on February 3rd-6th at the Pima County Fairgrounds. The music was definitely on point with The String Cheese Incident headlining, along with Dirtwire, LSDREAM, and many others. The campground environment was just as electrifying and exciting as the energy I found on the festival grounds. I saw so many people and kiddos enjoying the good vibes, and warm sun (even though it was a bit cold at night!). With friends around every corner, people sharing their special blend of creation and uniqueness, and amazing tunes playing non-stop, I couldn’t have imagined a better festival!
What a Wild Ride!
This year I took the plunge and rented an RV for a totally different camping experience than I’m used to, and wow, was it worth it! We had a prime camping spot only a short walk from the entrance with a convenient coffee/tea booth at the end of the row. I also took my parents, some friends, and my son to their first festival, which made it more magical. The first day was a bit windy but we set up, got dressed, and headed in to catch Kr3ture at the Quartz stage. We spent the rest of the day exploring the grounds, vendors, art, and amazing stages. The Opal stage was a special treat hosting local Arizona artists all weekend. The main stage is set on a lush green grass field, with giant gems and crystals decorating the stage and bleachers on either side; definitely the most comfortable stage in my opinion! After scoring some incredible yoga pants from Maddie Moon, and some snacks from the vendors, we sat and enjoyed a set from Dogs in a Pile, an amazing live music jam band. To end the night, we caught sets from Ott., Emancipator, and The Motet, all of which were absolutely mind-blowing. The sound quality was fantastic, and the visuals were oh-so-satisfying.
Saturday brought with it even more incredible festival-goers, more classes and workshops, and some even bigger talents seen up on the stages! We started our day with some yoga, perfect to stretch out from the night before. After that came the act I was anticipating the most, the LSDREAM Lightcode sound bath set. I had heard so many of his DJ sets, however, the sound bath was absolutely phenomenal and a world away from the normal musical sets. He had us lie back and close our eyes, and then he took us on a healing journey with deep, soothing sounds and tranquil melodies, I had never felt so relaxed and in tune with everyone around me. After that melodious reset, we spent some time enjoying the art installations, gem vendors, and making some food back at camp (another amazing benefit of RV camping was definitely the addition of a whole kitchen, and my own bathroom, I may never go back to tent camping!). Later that evening we caught sets from Balkan Bump and Marvel Years at the Emerald main stage, then caught some jams with SoDown and the LSDREAM DJ set that brought some incredible energy to close out our Saturday night with!
Sunday came quicker than I could have imagined, and with it, some of the best jams of the whole weekend. We started out chatting with neighbors and people passing by, there seems to be a friend anywhere you turn. We packed up our too-full wagon and headed back into the festival grounds. The security team was also super friendly and easy to work with every time we went in. I loved the Rainbow Family Circus area at the entrance, it is such a fun and safe activity area for my kiddo and others to roam around and play. We bought a few more gems and minerals at the vendor stands, ate some more food, and my mom bought me the most incredible tie-dyed bucket hat! That evening we were gifted with an incredible Dirtwire set followed by 4 hour set from The String Cheese Incident that was unforgettablo]. Most of the night was spent there at the Emerald stage, dancing in the grass, enjoying the time of my life with the ones I love most, it was magical! We did sneak away for a few to the Onyx stage in the warehouse to catch some of Defunk which has some deep, soul-pounding bass and jaw-dropping lasers.
Everything and More!
Gem & Jam has always been one of my absolute favorites and being in Arizona, is very near and dear to my heart. From the deep sense of community and togetherness to the stacked lineups and innovative art and creation, Gem & Jam truly has everything and more. The grounds were always clean and easy to navigate, the music and stages were well organized and gorgeous and the festival itself had little bits of welcoming art in every corner. For me this year was extra special, getting to bring my parents, son, and friends to experience the festival for the first time, watching them dance and smile with magic in their eyes, is a memory I will hold dear forever. Music festivals are such a huge part of my life, and sharing them makes them even more special. If you have the opportunity in life, invite your loved ones to come jam with you, it will surely be a wonderful time. Catch me there next year groovin’ with my family again! Keep an eye on Gem & Jams’ website for tickets for next year!