August - Big Beat Acid Test Poster and Memorabilia - 1965 [ Back to Gallery ]
A truly amazing find of the earliest known Acid Test Memorabilia to exist, consisting of the first use of The Hartwig Acid Test poster (pictured) with full venue used to advertise the Big Beat Acid Test on December 11th, a poster and a handbill from the San Jose Acid Test (to be pictured at a later date) held the week before on December 4, 1965 (the first time the Grateful Dead played at an Acid Test), early pictures of the San Francisco and Palo Alto scene at the time including that high school looking Bob Weir who was teaching guitar lessons to the owner, articles from local newspapers reporting on the local Acid Test events and handbills and posters from the early San Francisco psychedelic happenings such as the first Trips Festival and Family Dog and Bill Graham events.

Before I go any further, let me say - Yes, I know of the "Warlocks" piece that showed up on ebay about a few years ago and while the handbill looks distressed and aged, in my opinion it is a forgery; however the buyer/owner of this handbill feels otherwise. To learn and read more about this item go to Poster News section in the gallery for a thorough discussion and picture of the item.

Now the brief story on how this collection was kept all these years. The original owner at the time was taking guitar lessons from Bob Weir at the local Palo Alto music store. One day Bob told her that she and her friends should come to San Jose for a dance the band was going to playing at and Bob had been told that Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones would be attending. Well that was all it took and when the weekend rolled around, she, her sister and friends all headed to San Jose in her Dad's car.

Upon arriving at the address, they found it was not at a dance hall, but rather a small house in a very sketchy part of town with a lot of strange people hanging around outside. Afraid to go in (they were young high school girls at the time) they watched from their car parked across the street trying to decide what to do. Then the bus "Further" rolled up and Ken Kesey, the Pranksters and all sorts of costumed, loud and crazy people piled out of the bus. Well this was more than enough to frighten the girls into deciding to immediately head back home! However, before they left, her sister got out of the car and ran across the street and grabbed a poster off the tree and a handbill that was lying on the ground. From all documented accounts, which are rather hilarious, the San Jose Acid Test held that night, was quite a mess and the girls really didn't really miss anything and Mick Jagger never did show up.

The next weekend, December 11th, however was quite a different story as the Grateful Dead played in their home town of Palo Alto for their second Acid Test at the Big Beat, a rather plush pizza establishment and one parents would not object to sending their daughters to a dance (little did they know). She and her friends attended this event and it was more than a fun time with strobe lights, lots of day glow painting and great music from the the hometown band, the Grateful Dead. Upon leaving the dance that night, she picked up this poster to remember the fun evening. As they continued to attend more events in the Bay area they collected the posters and handbills for each of the dances they attended, including some of the earliest Family Dog and Bill Graham shows in San Francisco. As a side note - on the reverse of the poster the admission price of $1.00 was spay painted in day-glow, the front side also has day glow paint that was being used abundantly that evening on just about everything - now wouldn't it be interesting to know who's finger prints in day-glow are on the front!

Finally, there is some confusion and conflicting information on the date of the Big Beat Acid and the Muir Beach Acid Tests. December 11th was the Big Beat and December 18th was Muir Beach .
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