Exclusive Interview With Gem And Jam Founder, Toby White

Exclusive Interview With Gem And Jam Founder, Toby White

I got the special opportunity to interview the founder of the incredibly unique Gem and Jam Festival
65
views

Tucson is home to the world's largest gem and mineral show but many of you may be more familiar with Gem and Jam, an annual music festival that takes place in January and is known for its unique incorporation of music, minerals, workshops, and art. I got the chance to interview Toby White, the founder of Gem and Jam, to get the inside scoop on the history of Gem and Jam, what makes it so unique and how it all comes together. Gem and Jam is still months away, naturally, there are some things that Toby White could not announce quite yet.


How did the idea of Gem and Jam come about?

"Gem & Jam started back in 2003 as a much more simple idea. A gem and mineral dealer/friend had mentioned to me that there really wasn't any sort of fun activity for people to do after the gem show was over each day. I saw this as an opportunity to develop my own sort of event where I could incorporate music as well a self-contained gem show."


What was the deciding factor to hold the festival in Tucson? How did the Gem and Mineral show inspire elements of the festival?

"Tucson has the largest gem and mineral show in the world. It seemed like an open market that could really expand into something different. I thought it would be cool to bring a new type of Gem Show to a pretty conservative scenario that was happening back then. It was all about the gems, and I saw a much of the crowd that was coming down also being lovers of music. It all sort of fell together pretty organically."


What is the motivation to do a unique festival like Gem and Jam?

"There really isn't anything quite like it. It has moved to 6 different venues over the years, and over that time the event has moved from being more of a club type experience to a 4-day festival. It has really kept the same vibe through the years and still has the intimate feeling. It's fun to see how it's evolved and exciting to continue to watch it grow into something people really dig on."


How did you and your team decide to do live dancers, live painters, art installations and workshops?

"We do an online application process through our website, but we also have the local Tucson community that we have pulled from that has been working with us for years that have brought a lot of talent to the table. Cirque Roots has been our all-star performance troupe and we have allowed them to help organize that side of things. They have also assisted in workshop coordination. Of course, we also reach out to more well-known people, but we have always been huge advocates of allowing people to come and show off their skills that they might not have had the chance anywhere else. That part makes it fresh and new."


What do you think makes Gem and Jam such a unique festival and experience overall?

"I think the variety of experiences people can have while they are there. There is constant visual stimulation, amazing live music, and education. I think all of those things are important and make the whole gathering memorable."


Looking back at the first ever Gem and Jam, what do you think has been your greatest achievement so far?

"Hmmm. Good question. I think for me, the greatest achievement is sticking to my roots to why I first started it. I wanted to be able to give people that are close to me with talent, the opportunity to be seen or heard when they might not necessarily have that outlet anywhere else. It's hard to make it in the industry and to be able to give people a chance to show off their talent. I feel like promoters in this industry get lost from why they started sometimes. I feel good that I have stuck with my values on why I do this. Loyalty and integrity are the keys to success!"


Can you give any hints on what we can expect from workshops this year?

"It's a little too early to give away too much, but expect to see workshops on gems & minerals, jewelry making, yoga, body movement and much more. We are always trying to bring in new and unique projects."


Due to the unique and varied lineup when it comes to music, what is the process you and your team go through when determining which artists will be performing?

"We like to bring in all types of music lovers. We all feel very passionately about music and try to be as diverse as possible, without steering too far away from our own personal taste in music. It's nice to enjoy the music that is playing at your event. I think that makes us all really enjoy it just as must as our patrons. I think every year we evolve with what the musical lineup looks like. We strive to integrate as much live music as possible."


What extra steps do you and your team take to make the overall experience one that people will never forget?

"I think the most important thing is to learn from your mistakes. Each year as we grow, we add new elements. It's challenging to get them all right the first time. It's crucial to listen to our patrons and really watch to see what works and what doesn't. We focus on those faults and really strive to make them better for the following year. Sometimes it's the little things as they go a long way. This year we are really focusing on the overall camping experience, as that was new last year and we want to make sure everyone is safe and enjoying themselves."


If you had to explain Gem and Jam to a stranger in one sentence, what would you say?

"The festival offers a myriad of art, music, performance, and education into a community event where everyone is free to express themselves in positive ways outside the boundaries of our traditional social construct."


Gem and Jam just released their second round of artists which include Big Wild, Papadosio, and Sunsquabi. Make sure to head over to http://gemandjamfestival.com to check out all the details and follow Gem and Jam on Twitter Facebook and Instagram to stay in the loop on announcements. As the weeks go on I will be releasing more interviews with artists such as Maddie O'Neal and Big Wild, as well as interviews with vendors, artists, and workshop holders.

Cover Image Credit: Gem and Jam Festival

Popular Right Now

6 Places in New York City Every "Friends" Fan Needs to Visit

Grab a cup of coffee at Central Park.
12629
views

As a Friends fanatic myself, I often wonder about the places in New York City featured in the various episodes and whether I could actually visit them. Most of them are fictional or no longer exist, but there are a few places you can go to reminisce about your favorite Friends moments. So, here are 6 places in New York City you definitely need to visit as a Friends fan.

1. The Apartment Building, Obviously

The building used for the exterior shot of the apartments in Friends is real, and is located at 90 Bedford Street at the corner of Grove Street in Greenwich Village. It's an obvious must-see.

2. The Pullitzer Fountain

This is the fountain that the friends danced around in for the iconic theme song, and it's located right in Central Park.

3. Bloomingdale's

This is the department where Rachel worked before she moved on to Ralph Lauren, where she met Joshua, and where she started her career in fashion.

4. The Plaza Hotel

This is where Monica and Chandler celebrated their engagement in The One WIth Monica's Thunder, and is actually really gorgeous.

5. The Central Perk Replica

While Central Perk isn't a real coffee shop, a pop-up replica opened up in 2014 on Lafayette Street and it's definitely a must-visit.

6. Chandler's Office

The fictional Chandler works in the real Solow Building, located on West 57th street.

Cover Image Credit: Fame Focus

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Hannah B. Named The Next Bachelorette: Get Excited!!

Roll Tide.

58
views

On the season finale of the hit reality TV show 'The Bachelor' Chris Harrison announced the new Bachelorette to be Hannah Brown, affectionately referred to as "Hannah Beast." Hannah made it far in Colton's season of the Bachelor, but hit some bumps along the way. She was involved in serious drama with costar and fellow pageant competitor Caelynn. Not only is Hannah B. known for drama and tears, she is also known for her awkward and often uncomfortable behavior around the cameras. And let's not forget the most awkward first date and toast of all time...Roll Tide!

Despite her awkward and quirky personality, I think the Alabama native is truly a sweetheart. She cannot be judged based on the controversy that took place between her and Caelynn because no one knows the full truth of the story. In my opinion, no one was completely innocent in their "cat fight" but the way in which each girl handled themselves in the resolution of this drama was mature and, quite frankly, impressive. I think Hannah B's season will be full of more tears and could potentially be very uncomfortable to watch at some moments, but at the end of the say, Hannah B. deserves to find love just like any other 'Bachelor' hopeful. It will definitely be an interesting season to watch, so get excited!!

Related Content

Facebook Comments