Acid Test Handbill 1966 Watts / Southern California by Wes Wilson

A fun, collectible Watts Acid Test event flyer for a public LSD party that took place on Feb. 12, 1966.

This particular Acid Test had great notoriety surrounding it, and contributed significantly to the downfall of the series.

This Watts Acid Test handout was printed on bright Day-Glo red paper, surely grabbing everyone’s attention that came within eyeshot of it.

There was also a salmon, or pink, version of this item printed, which I show you in my video blog entry which ran just before this one. Those two are blank in the oval area, whereas this one is filled in.

The first thing about the Watts Acid Test event handbill that jumps out at you is its crazy psychedelic patterns. Credit San Francisco poster artist Wes Wilson with creating that design.

Wilson’s very first Family Dog concert-poster design was only one week behind this event, on February 19. He would go on to design a whole slew of important S.F. concert posters throughout ’66.

This particular Watts Acid Test flier has been cut down to size, probably to fit into a window box or frame. You can see its original size in that separate video blog that I just referred to.

The details for this event are supplied down in the venue-information oval in the lower-left area. Interestingly, they just cut the four lines out of a publication, most likely the L.A. Free Press.

For many collectors, especially rock fans, the strong point of the Watts Acid Test slinger is the presence of the Grateful Dead. That makes this a nice, early Dead concert piece.

Among the other entertainers listed are The Merry Pranksters (naturally), the esteemed Neal Cassady, Acid Test veteran Roy’s Audioptics, “The Bus” (the Pranksters’ Further bus), “many noted outlaws” and “the unexpectable.” Sounds intriguing!

Historically, this event is sometimes known as the “Who Cares Test,” because the LSD was extra strong, one woman in particular freaked out, and “Who cares?” was repetitively chanted over the PA system for much of the night.

The little informational paragraph in the lower left corner of this Watts Acid Test herald states, “ACID TEST (to integrate Watts).

“Ken Kesey’s bunch (without Kesey) at 13331 South Alameda, 8 PM. $1 admission.”

And then, weirdly, “(See article on Page 10 this issue).” Obviously meaning that it’s source was a publication of some kind.

What’s weird is that this Acid Test event didn’t take place in Watts at all… it was held at the Youth Opportunities Center in Compton, right next to Watts.

This Watts Acid Test showbill is examined and lectured upon in this video by veteran collector Pete Howard, who can be reached by either 805-540.0020 or That’s me, and I will pay the BEST PRICES, PERIOD for any early Acid Test advertising materials like this. Thanks very much.

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

3 Responses to Acid Test Handbill 1966 Watts / Southern California by Wes Wilson

  1. Pingback: Ken Kesey, The Merry Pranksters And The "Watts Acid Test"

  2. Vera says:

    Why was the Watts Acid Test called that? I was wondering if Alan Watts had something to do with it.

    • It’s called that because it took place in the section of Los Angeles named Watts, most famous, unfortunately, for the civil unrest and riots that took place there in the summer of 1965.

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