psychedelic film and music festival nyc simon boswell

British composer Simon Boswell will make his U.S. debut at the Mercury Lounge with The AND as part of the first-ever Psychedelic Film and Music Festival in NYC.


It’s fair to say most of us have spent 2018 in some kind of altered state, so it seems like the right moment for the first-ever Psychedelic Film and Music Festival coming to New York in October. 

“Prepare for an illuminating journey” coming Oct. 1-7 as the Psychedelic Film and Music Festival takes over several venues in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. The week-long lineup of shorts, documentaries, virtual reality films and features span fantasy to horror, from ayahuasca as a way of life among shamans in the Peruvian Amazon to the niche but persistent practice of trepanation. Some screenings will include talks with the filmmakers, while others will end with talks by advocates for the use of psychedelics in wellbeing.

The music part of the festival will feature concerts by bands including the Psychic Ills, who take “inspired pilgrimages” into genres from country to jazz, and British film composer Simon Boswell making his U.S. debut with psych-rockers The AND.

psychedelic film and music festival nyc simon boswell


There’s a mission to the Psychedelic Film and Music Festival

The festival is being organized by Dan Abella, who’s also behind the long-running Philip K. Dick Film Festival as well as the newer Sci-Fi Film Festival. Besides being a fan of the philosophical implications of science fiction, Abella’s day job is as a coach in neuro-linguistic programming, helping people to change their way of thinking to achieve success and happiness.

In a way, the Psychedelic Film and Music Festival merges the two. “This is a festival for healing,” says Abella. “The goal is to educate the public about alternative treatments for conditions including PTSD, the current opioid crisis and skyrocketing suicide rates among veterans and civilians.”

While the creative benefits of psychoactive substances are enthusiastically advocated by their users (though actual study results are mixed), new research is showing they could have health benefits, too. Silicon Valley workers claim to be happier and more creative because of LSD microdosing, shrooms may one day be prescribed for social anxiety, and the party drug ketamine is being looked at as a possible treatment for depression, just to name a few. (The marijuana derivative CBD that’s suddenly everywhere from lattes to cocktails is not psychoactive.)

If you do find yourself thinking the hippies of the ‘60s were onto something, just please fight the urge to bring back bellbottoms.

Tickets to the Psychedelic Film and Music Festival are on sale now. The all-access festival pass is $100, or you can buy individual tickets to the screenings and concerts.

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