Can You Pass The Acid Test? Poster 1965 Grateful Dead Memorabilia

A real, genuine Can You Pass the Acid Test? poster used in late 1965-early 1966 in the S.F Bay Area, with entertainment supplied by the Grateful Dead, Allen Ginsberg, the Fugs, the Merry Pranksters, Neal Cassady and more.

This psychedelic event poster was used as a “tour blank,” in that it has an empty box down at the bottom where details could be supplied for any specific happening.

Collectors tend to view this item as an early Grateful Dead concert poster, but Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia once said that his band were just a sideshow of these Acid Test gatherings, that the psychedelic scene was really the draw here, music being just a small part of it. So this is more an LSD poster than a concert one!

This poster is an important early landmark, in that it would soon lead to expanded Acid Test gatherings up and down America’s West Coast, to the Trips Festival series of psychedelic concert events, and then to the Bill Graham and Family Dog series of hundreds of concerts for many years to come.

Notice the dotted line down the middle of this Acid Test window card… it was designed to be cut in half, with the left side then getting stacked on top of the right side to make for a tall, thin Acid Test psychedelic event broadside! In fact, instructions for doing just that are given on the poster.

This poster has huge number of words on it, but I’ve gone to the trouble of spelling them all out for you below.

And please be awarethat since this wasn’t my poster in the video, I will pay top dollar!! for an original version of this poster, with or without venue information written down in the lower corner. Same with all early Acid Test and psych-related concert memorabilia. I’m Pete Howard and I can be called at (805) 540-0020 or emailed at Thanks!

So here we go: From top to bottom and left to right, this poster reads:

Read Every Word of This. (Very upper left-hand corner.) alphabet abbot dappled a pulley quaff bell pull pap appall aquarelle parallel Can you pass the ACID TEST?

(Small newspaper clipping): William Burroughs becomes / control, however much it’s / you mean by a sense of /  clusion. It’s one conclusion in their lives, in all senses

(Naked sculpture talking): Only one way out! I’ll take the course myself!

(Sideways above crazy vehicle): Intrepid Trips inc. Perseverance Furthers Production

(Inside the flag at bottom): This grand thing can be made very long & thin by cutting up the middle & pasting line a, below, to line b, above. Or it can be left as it is.*  Contest Ends October 19, 1897.

The Happeners are likely to include: (starting now at top of second column): Allen Ginsberg, The Fugs, The Merry Pranksters, Neal Cassady, The Grateful Dead, Roy’s Audioptics, movies

(Probably the most bizarre element of the poster): Be sure to remember these eight vital areas during the test: 1. Das “Halbton-System,” die Noten-Beispiele in verschiedenen Lagen zu spielen. 2. Eine Uebung nach dem Studium jeder einzelnen Tomart (see Fig. 3). 3. Arpeggien in jeder Tonart. 4. Zwei Etuden, welche den praktischen Gebrauch der 2. u.  Large zeigen. 5. Fingerubungen in verschiedenen Lagen. 6. Vibrato. 7. Uebungen. 8. Klangfarben.

( had a German friend translate the above paragraph, and here’s what he came up with):

“It appears to be a historical eight-step tutorial for learning a musical, probably stringed, instrument (violin?). Translation is: 1. The “half-tone” system, for playing the sheet music examples in different positions (like on a fretboard?)  2. An exercise after having studied every single key  3. Arpeggios in every key  4. Two etudes (exercises) that illustrate the practical use of the 2 (lower?) positions  5. Finger exercises in different positions  6. Vibrato  7. Exercises  8. Tone colours”

(Back to the poster’s exact text now):

Now you can tell which one is us. (By the large fingerprint.)

Fig. 73- cup.  echo cerise peace cease lace

(The closing information starts): This Saturday Night. Bring your own comfort. here’s Where it’s at: (right above the blank box to fill in date & venue)

(tiniest words at very bottom): Gzz! You worm! *i.e. schizoid

Hello, it’s Pete Howard again.  Did you manage to take all that in?  LOL

And finally, if you’re fascinated with original sixties psychedelic rock concert posters, be sure to see some outstanding ones on this page of my Web site:

This entry was posted in **All Posters, **Psychedelic Posters Only, *Grateful Dead and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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