Roots Run Deep: 6 Local Acts Featured at Gem and Jam

It’s proven in nature that if you want to continue growing, the roots must run deep. With over a decade of experience under its wing, Gem and Jam have been able to hold its own in the crowded festival landscape. The ability to do this can be credited in part to its placement during the globally renown Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show. However, what has fueled the festival’s growth from a small urban nightlife option to a burgeoning desert camping festival is the collective energy patrons provide, providing a transformational setting and continuing to deepen its roots by enlisting and promoting local artists alongside headliners.



This year is warming up to be one of Gem and Jam’s hottest yet. With brand new camping options, new spacious and scenic festival grounds at the Pima County Fairgrounds, and headlining acts including Gramatik, The Floozies, The Motet and The Infamous Stringdusters, Gem and Jam is a can’t miss. Scrolling down to the latter half of the lineup one will find a selection of wonderfully diverse music rooted and grown in the festival’s hometown of Tucson. Check out these 6 locally grown artists featured at this year’s Gem and Jam Festival:

Cadillac Mountain

Rising out of the sands with a hankering for knee slapping and foot stomping, Cadillac Mountain is one of the only bluegrass bands featured on the lineup this year. Typically comprised of an acoustic guitar, banjo and fiddle, expect a set filled with traditional bluegrass arrangements filled with twang and harmony.

8 Minutes to Burn

This Tucson sextet brings a refreshing sound that comes with its wide range of influences and talents. The band combines elements of Southern Rock, New Orleans Funk and Roots Reggae in a seamless blend of musical exploration. Spend some time with 8 Minutes to Burn and discover why the city keeps buzzing about them.


Electric Feel

What do you get when you throw three talented Tucson producers together, let them create music and give them their own locally broadcasted radio show? If those three producers are Corbin Dooley, Toby Roberts, and then you would have Electric Feel. In a live setting, Electric Feel brings electronic music to life as members switch between laptops, guitars and keyboard giving the music a truly livetronic feel that is littered with hints of house, disco and electro.


Keli and the Big Dream

With a voice as golden as the Arizona sun, singer/guitarist/songwriter Keli Carpenter is bringing her band to Gem and Jam this year. Smooth, soulful lyrics provide a perfect landscape for a backdrop of sound that is composed of soulful flowing beats and the occasional horn section. Describing themselves as a place where “desert soul meets dreamy folk,” there is no denying this mixture is aurally addicting.


Onism Qi

Another supergroup of sorts makes the list with Onism Qi. This new collective was formed by three of Tucson’s drum n bass legends: Quentin Hiatus, Ghast & ThomasB. This collective is so new in fact that their set at this year’s Gem and Jam will be their debut performance as a group. Take a journey with Onism Qi into the depths of DnB and Jungle.

The Bennu

Returning to Gem and Jam for their fifth time, The Bennu is not only a Gem and Jam veteran but also a beloved product of Tucson soil. Inhabiting organic grooves influenced by jazz, world music and electronica, The Bennu creates an atmospheric journey through their music and live shows. Conscious in direction and improvisational in nature, this quintet brings an undeniable energy that is sure to draw a crowd.

Gem and Jam Festival has done a wonderful job booking eclectic musical talent ranging from bluegrass to drum n bass thanks in part to these local artists. Adding to not only the lineups variance and texture, these artists also bring together the local community with pride. Catch these acts over the weekend and see what’s cooking in the Tucson music scene.

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