Last year, Gem & Jam opened with a healing ceremony hosted by Andrew Ecker of Drumming Sounds, during which he invited the festival goers to reflect on Mother Earth’s gifts – water and, crucially, land – and show gratitude for their ancestors. The ceremony commenced three days of electronic music, the occasional hit of country blues, more Drumming Sounds Workshops, and talks about mushrooms and aphrodisiacs. With a schedule like this, you might never guess Gem & Jam was launched in 2005 to support, of all things, the Tucson Gem, Mineral, and Fossil Showcase, which runs concurrently with the festival.
On the musical side of things, this year’s lineup sees the return of electronic duo Break Science, as well as Arizona native funk-fusion group Lettuce and electro-soul artist Daily Bread. New York brass house group Too Many Zooz, who have been courted even by Queen Bee, and New Zealand dubstep duo TRUTH, which gained popularity with their debut underground single The Fatman / Stolen Children, are among the first-timers playing Gem & Jam 2024.
But Gem & Jam is as much an art and archeological experience as it is a music fest. It offers meditation sessions, art installations and painting workshops, as well as vendors selling unique gems, rare fossils and other artifacts. Rock and mineral dealers from all over the world converge in Tucson for the Tucson Gem, Mineral, and Fossil Showcase, drawing tens of thousands of rock lovers. You could stumble upon meteorites, dinosaur bones, and rocks of every size, shape, clarity and color, some of which are fashioned into unique jewelry like The Giving Pendant, which requires you pass it down to a new person when you feel ready to do so. And if someone asks you, “Do you want to take a picture with a baby goat inside a giant geode?” Say yes. Then get back to your EDM.
For the youngest ones, there are circus performances, playgrounds, and plenty of occasions to interact with the arts first-hand.
- Gem & Jam draws around 6,000 visitors, though that number may grow this year.
- General Admission tickets cost $184.9. VIP tickets start at $499.
- If bizarre is just your thing, here’s our Fifty Grande suggestion for quirky road trip sights worth a detour. And here’s our tamer guide to Tucson.
What is the closest airport to the Gem & Jam Festival?
The closest airport to get to the Gem and Jam Festival is Tucson International Airport.
Is the festival family-friendly?
Yes, there will be kids-friendly activities.
What about food, wifi? Any amenities?
There is an available ATM, but no public wifi. The festival will have food vendors that can accommodate gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian diets. Keep an eye out for trucks offering grilled cheeses, loaded nachos, plant-based tacos and more.
What should I bring with me?
Some recommended items include warm clothes (Tucson isn’t immune to the winter chill), camping gear, rain gear, a reusable water bottle, earplugs, bandanas, extra batteries, toiletries, and blankets.
What is the lineup for this year’s Gem and Jam?
A Hundred Drums, Andy Frasco & The UN, Arkansauce, Boogie T, Boogie T.rio, Booka Shade (LIVE), Boostive, Break Science, CBLS, Chess Club, Chmura, Daily Bread, Diamond Saints, Dirtysnatcha, Fort Knox Five, G-Space (LIVE), GOne Gone Beyond, IL:LO, Jaenga, Jantsen, Jazz is Phish, Josh Teed, Lespecial, Lettuce, Lost Ox, LP Giobbi, Maddi O’Neal, Madhaus, Michal Menert, Mr. Carmack, Of The Trees, Parkbreezy, Phyphr, Pink Talking Fish, Project Aspect, Reis Brothers, San Grisman Project, Spafford, Super Future, Teeth Mountain Division, The Bennu, The Disco Biscuits, The Main Squeeze, Too Many Zooz, Toubab Krewe, True Loves, Truth, Vctre, Vincent Antone, Yheti.