Gems on display. Photo by pexels.com.

The Gem & Jam 2020 lineup has something for everyone. As one of the most diverse music festivals in the west, Gem & Jam brings house music fanatics, jam and bluegrass lovers, funk freaks, and dubstep devotees together every year for one incredible weekend. 

Exploring the festival grounds and exposing yourself to new music is one of the best parts about attending a music festival, and Gem & Jam is no exception. This year, plenty of attention-grabbing artists like Tipper, Twiddle, and Big Gigantic are headliners. While these festival veterans have an established following, several other lesser-known acts on the lineup are definitely worth your time. 

So, for the sake of discovering new music, here are 5 under-the-radar sets you simply can’t miss at Gem & Jam 2020

Balkan Bump:

Will Magid known as Balkan Bump is a trumpet player, producer and self-described ethnomusicologist. The Balkan Bump project is a combination of funky brass instruments, world music, hop-hop influences, and heavy electronic production. 

Inspired by his Balkan roots, Magid goes above and beyond to create a one-of-a-kind, beat bumping sound that will get you grooving in no time. The live instrument element Balkan Bump brings to the electronic genre is both refreshing and enigmatic. Balkan Bump is signed to Lowtemp records and has supported festival favorites including Gramatik, Haywyre, Beats Antique, and Clozee on tour. 

Check out his fusion of sound here: 

Mystic Grizzly:

If you’re wondering what exactly a “Mystic Grizzly” is, you’re not alone. The best way to describe this artist is if you put on some psychedelic bass, mix in a bit of glitch hop and tribal beats, add a sprinkle of experimental electronic on top, you’d have yourself a Mystic Grizzly. 

In all seriousness, Mystic Grizzly provides an incredibly unique sound which is why the artist easily made this list. The man behind the project is Jordan Hoffman, a 20-year-old musician and electronic producer. While Hoffman is an experienced guitar player and percussionist, his intention behind Mystic Grizzly is to provide his listeners with a mystical experience that embodies the spiritual effect music has on our lives. 

Check out Mystic Grizzly at Gem & Jam 2020 if you’re down for an experimental journey through sound and you’re not afraid to get a little bit weird with it, too. 

Kitchen Dwellers

Kitchen Dwellers aren’t strangers to the Gem & Jam lineup. If you missed their set previous years, Gem & Jam 2020 is your chance to finally catch the lively bluegrass act. Hailing from Bozeman, Montana, Kitchen Dwellers are composed of Joe Funk on bass, Shawn Swain on mandolin, Torrin Daniels on banjo, and Max Davies on guitar.

Even if you aren’t a fan of bluegrass, Kitchen Dwellers have a distinctive energy, coined as “Galaxy Grass,” they bring to their live acts. Plus, there’s nothing like a sweet set with live instruments to break up all the bass music Gem & Jam 2020 has to offer. 

Smoakland

Dubstep lovers, you’re in for a treat. Up and coming heavy hitters Anthony Battaglia and Harrison Hays debuted the Smoakland project just over a year ago. In that time, Smoakland has been featured on festival lineups on both the east and west coast and snagged opening slots for artists including Caspa, Pushloop, Charles the First, and more. 

Smoakland sets themselves apart from other electronic acts by taking their audience through an immersive journey into the world of heavy bass. If deep wubs are your jam, don’t miss this promising duo. Check out one of their most recent remixes below.

Safi’s Lab

Music festivals are undoubtedly the perfect time to get weird, and Safi’s Lab is here to help. With tunes inspired by Hip-Hop, Latin, Funk, and Reggae, to name a few, Safi’s Lab brings an eclectic approach to electronic music. 

Check out Safi’s Lab at Gem & Jam 2020 if you’re looking to expand your current musical horizons. Here’s a taste of what you can expect:

Honorable mention: Billy Strings

The group, composed of William Apostle aka Billy Strings on vocals and guitar, Billy Failing on banjo, Royal Masat on bass, and Jarrod Walker on mandolin, knows how to bring the heat. Billy Strings sold out 32 of their 39 shows during fall 2019 tour, and is considered by many to be the hottest band in psychedelic bluegrass today. Even for those who don’t normally tune in to this genre, the Billy Strings set is definitely worth your time. See (and hear) for yourself: 

As a major headliner, this group can’t be considered an under the radar act. However, Billy Strings gets an honorable mention as a set you definitely don’t want to miss at Gem & Jam 2019.