Gem and Jam Festival 2018 Schedule. Photo provided.
Gem and Jam Festival 2018 Schedule. Photo provided.

The 12th Annual Gem and Jam Festival is Scheduled for Action on January 25-28

In less than two short months, the Gem and Jam Festival will be lighting up the desert sky in Tucson, Arizona. The festival, which coincides with the world-renowned Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, just released its schedule.

This year, the Gem and Jam festivities will be kicking off on Thursday, January 25. This will essentially give festival goers a dynamite pre-party experience featuring Dynohunter, Zoogma, and additional acts. The Thursday event will be available to attend individually, and also packaged with the multiple day passes.


Tickets also include an optional early-entry pass for a Wednesday arrival. Music fans can ensure to have their campsites comfortably setup before the action kicks off on Thursday.


Not to be missed artists on Friday start fairly early in the afternoon with Lapa, who is better known as the violin player with the Emancipator Ensemble. The evening continues on with saQi, who is a classically trained composer and trumpet player that frequents the stage with Russ Liquid. As the sun sets and the nighttime festivities begin, the Americana newgrass powerhouse, known as Railroad Earth is sure to set spirits high.

After dark Friday night will surely be a cosmic experience. As the stars begin to emerge in the inky black sky of the Sonoran Desert, Emancipator is set to take the stage. Emancipator, known for his downtempo beats and eerily beautiful melodies, has recently released a new album, Baralku.

Next, Papadosio will bring up the energy of the crowd with their conscious-expanding take on rock music.

Finally, headliner STS9, is set to close out the main stage. STS9 will be playing two nights at the Gem and Jam, so hold on tight and get your space suit ready.

Late night at the Gem and Jam Festival is an experience within itself. As the night air grows crisp and the outdoor stages shut down; the crowd pours into the indoor Onyx stage for a warehouse party with an underground feel. Friday night’s late night party features Maddy O’Neal, Russ Liquid Test, and Charlesthefirst.


The artists selected to perform on Saturday are bound to get spirits up and feet moving. Head for the Hills, a four-piece string bluegrass band, is sure to provide a knee-slapping good time.

Next comes future-funk group, Sunsquabi, who hails from Boulder, Colorado and is gaining traction to be a festival favorite. As the night sets in, modern-day legends of funk, Lettuce are set to crank up the heat in the first night of their two-night run.

The party doesn’t stop with Lettuce, however. Next up is Big Wild, with his groove-oriented, uplifting beats such as ‘When I Get There.’ He is sure to have the entire festival on moving and shaking together.

After Big Wild performs, the group known as Breaking Biscuits, an ultra-rare collaboration between Borahm Lee and Adam Deitch of Break Science, will team up with Marc Brownstein and Aron Magner of The Disco Biscuits. No one really knows what Breaking Biscuits will bring to the table, but it is a special occasion that can not be skipped.

Finally closing out the main stage again is headliner STS9, masters of electronic energy, will send the crowd into orbit before heading to the late-night party.

The late-night schedule on Saturday night is absolutely stacked, featuring Jade Cicada, Michal Menert, and Marvel Years.


Sunday is set to be an ultra-chill day. Govinda, who provides a complete sensory experience including gypsy violin with world-beats combined with electronic elements and performance artist Jordan Proper. They will set the tone for the remainder of the afternoon.

The golden-hour performance for Sunday will be Random Rab. Next up is Masego, who blends contemporary jazz with hip hop to create a genre of his own. After Masego, comes Thriftworks, who’s occult themed dark electronic music, sometimes dubbed “witch house,” will surely send a shiver down the festival’s collective spine.

Just as the crowd is sure to grow tired, the Gem and Jam Festival has planned an utterly uplifting close to the occasion. Lettuce, in their second performance of the festival, will play the last show of the Tanzanite stage.

Finally, closing out the main stage of the festival is Greensky Bluegrass. With their bluegrass roots and rock n roll attitude, Greensky Bluegrass radiates positivity and is the perfect conclusion to the weekend.

Artists performing late night on Sunday are Dead Set, playing tribute to the Grateful Dead, and John Kadlecik’s Fellowship of the Wing.

There is just a short amount of time remaining until the Gem and Jam Fesitval kicks off, and I’m hopping on the hype train. With it’s particular combination of gems, jams, art, and incredible weather that goes hand-in-hand to wintertime in the desert, the Gem and Jam Festival is a party that should not be missed.

Tickets can be purchased at

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Samantha (Sam) Harvey lives in Larkspur, Colorado with her husband and her dog. She has been covering music festivals for Crescent Vale in Colorado and the American West since 2016. Her day job is managing a horse farm, but in her free time she enjoys hiking, camping, photography, and attending music festivals.