DiscoveryCon 2023 is a multi-faceted gathering of the psychedelic community. Hosted at San Francisco’s The Midway SF on April 18–19th and now in its second year, The Discovery Sessions symposium facilitates discussion on the intersection of psychedelics with culture, policy, and science. The conference will expand to two days of activities, with accredited experts and visionary thinkers coalescing to revel in the past, present, and future of psychedelic culture.After the expansive educational program concludes, the festivities will roll right into the beloved annual Bicycle Day musical extravaganza. A longtime regional favorite, the concert can be counted on to throw down dance parties deep into the night, in honor of Albert Hoffman’s discovery of LSD 85 years ago, and in alignment with the region’s storied legacy.Discover the cultural impact of psychedelics across arts, music, religion, and mysticism with a fresh, inclusive view from today’s leaders. Participants include Hamilton MorrisDr. Robin Carhart-HarrisCarolyn Mountain Girl GarciaRhoney StanleySeth FerrantiVince KadlubekMikaela de la MycoIsaac AbramsLeonard Pickard, representatives from the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and Decriminalize Nature, a team of doctors and researchers from UCSF’s Neuroscape unit, among many other contributors from the psychedelic pantheon. Find out more about the vast array of speakers here.

Building off the popularity of the Bicycle Day concert in San Francisco—which has evolved into an iconic event held every April 19th—Discovery Sessions decided to start local. The conference celebrates the Bay Area’s legacy with psychedelics while addressing issues facing people right now, with The Discovery Sessions story being uniquely told through a Bay Area lens. This wide-ranging collective of contributors will be participating in panel discussions, keynote addresses, breakout sessions, and a worldwide documentary film premiere.

“We want curious seekers to join in discussions with leaders and luminaries to transform the psychedelics landscape,” explains Jim Jenkins, producer of DiscoveryCon 2023. “People will meet today’s leaders changing the face of psychedelics in science, culture, and policy. They can establish a deeper appreciation for psychedelics, their potential to inspire, heal and transform.”

The intention is to unpack the three aforementioned themes in relation to psychedelics: culture, policy, and science. Planned panels include (but are not limited to)—Impact of Psychedelics on Creative Culture, Emerging Futures: The Next Generation and the Psychedelic Experience, Further In: Religious and Psychedelic Mysticism, and The Future Awake: How Psychedelics Will Change the World, among other poignant topics that will be fleshed out with an esteemed assembly of bright minds.

The famed City by the Bay remains a nerve center of culture, policy, and science as we move through the current-day “psychedelic renaissance.” Legion of Bloom Music and The Midway SF honor the sacred history and inspire the future of psychedelic culture by hosting DiscoveryCon 2023 in San Francisco. In 2022, the inaugural conference enjoyed overflow crowds of 700-plus attendees.


Discovery Sessions at The Midway – 2022 Recap


Beginning in 1965, young Americans who soon became known as “hippies” flocked en masse to the San Francisco Bay Area, as enthusiastic experimentation with the still-legal lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) swept through the region. Psychedelics, music, and spirituality were at the core of the movement, and those hallucinatory substances were believed to be sacramental elixirs for the transformation of individual beings, and society at large.

In search of a tribe of like-minded souls, the acid freaks, outcasts, and hippies congregated in SF’s Haight-Ashbury district and Golden Gate Park, as well as Palo Alto. Landmark gatherings took place, like the legendary Acid Tests, the Human Be-In, and Death of the Hippie, among other noted occasions of psychedelic lore.

In the interim half-century, the culture, the research, and conversations surrounding psychedelics have evolved and extrapolated in a plethora of directions since Timothy Leary first uttered the shape-shifting directive: “turn on, tune in, drop out.”

Despite the fact that a sizable percentage of the public still holds relatively dated perceptions of these magnificent molecules, in recent years there’s been a steadily building interest in—and focus on—psychedelics as medicine, and specifically employing them as alternative treatments for depression. There are myriad reasons for this uptick in attention; namely, the publication of Michael Pollan’s How to Change Your Mind and Ayelet Waldman’s analogous A Really Good Day, the work of the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), and the establishment of The UC Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics (BCSP). It’s worth noting that much of this research and innovation take place in Bay Area’s backyard.

Numerous societies and civilizations have fostered cultural traditions and spiritual rituals for altered states of consciousness, dating back to prehistoric times up through the modern day. The fact that there even is an event like DiscoveryCon 2023 speaks to the notion that contemporary society and certain government bodies are working toward finally bringing an end to the draconian prohibition of psychedelic compounds. Hopefully, people will soon discard the taboos and stereotypes associated with their use and traditions, too.

By opening conferences like these to the public, people beyond clinical researchers—and outlaws—can begin to understand and recognize that psychedelics can be instruments of healing the mind, body, and spirit. With this new knowledge, people from all facets of society may recognize that embracing psychedelics can foster strong communities, and build powerful connections in both tangible and mystical ways.

As we watch psychedelics continue to work their way into mainstream conversations and applications, Discovery Sessions will offer windows into what an integrated, legitimate, flourishing psychedelic culture could one day become. The gifts of plant wisdom from indigenous leaders, plus a steady stream of encouraging studies into psychedelic-assisted therapies, are both helping steer us back toward a long-celebrated but recently-forgotten perspective: psychedelics can be beneficial to the human condition, with limitless potential.

Immediately following DiscoveryCon 2023 is the nighttime mini-festival, Bicycle Day. This event is held annually in honor of Albert Hoffman’s fateful bike ride in Basel, Switzerland that coincided with his discovery of LSD in 1938. Running strong for over a decade, Bicycle Day is a wildly-popular party in the storied Bay Area tradition of serendipitous psychedelic soirees.

The Midway SF—the same venue The Discovery Sessions takes place—is magically transformed into a polychromatic gala, with several rooms of top-flight live music and DJs, plus festive dancers and dynamic live painters. In addition, Bicycle Day will feature a vibrant gallery with various historically-significant and current-day psychedelic art pieces, plus digital interactive installations, vendors of all stripes, and more. This year’s musical performers include The Floozies, DirtwireThe Human Experience, Iterate with Jonathan Singer, Treavor Moontribe, Rachel Torro, Ruby ChaseLittle John, DJ Monk Earl, and Lyja. This party goes late into the night and caps off a successful two-day jubilee. More info and tickets are available here.

words: B.Getz


Culture. Policy. Science.
April 18-19, 2023
The Midway SF

Discovery Sessions 2023 tickets here

Lineup: Dr. Robin Carhart-HarrisRhoney StanleyIsaac AbramsDeepak SarmaCarolyn Mountain Girl GarciaJen ChristianSeth FerrantiHamilton MorrisGary FisherMikaela de la MycoJohn GilmoreJames FadimanDavid SmithReggie HarrisBia LabateBrittany Jade WilsonDel PotterAcacea LewisDavid GlowackiVince KadlubekDave HodgesDr. Ellen Bradley and Andrew PennStanley KrippnerLeonard Pickard, and more