The Trips Festival was held at the Longshoreman’s Hall in San Francisco over three days in January of 1966. The festival was the brainchild of Stewart Brand, a Prankster and later publisher of the Whole Earth Catalog. Brand and Ramon Sender did most of the early organizing. The festival roughly followed the format of the earlier Acid Tests and, by all accounts, it was equally chaotic and off the wall (despite the best efforts of Bill Graham and his clipboard).
The Pranksters were involved early on, and on Saturday night they provided their usual homemade inter-active technology and wacked-out craziness. The Dead played — well, sort of — as did Big Brother and the Holding Company, along with lots of other musicians and artists. Kesey offered the crowds a running commentary of the craziness on an overhead projector. The audience were encouraged to be more than just spectators and many wore “Ecstatic Dress” and danced the night away as the fliers had requested. A bag of LSD circulated around the hall courtesy of Owsley himself.
The history books record the Trips Festival as an important event in the emerging freak/hippie counterculture in San Francisco, but, perhaps more importantly, it sounds like it was one hell of a party!!
There were thousands of people at the Trips Festival — including everybody who was anybody in the blossoming psychedelic scene. If you were one of the thousands, how do you remember this event? (Can you remember it???). Did you record your impressions in a diary or a letter that you’d allow us to see. Click here to participate once more in the inter-active spirit of the Trips Festival. Click on a link to the left to see the flashbacks of others or maybe to find a long lost friend….
Hey all, Stewart Brand has been in touch to give us the scoop on the actual origins of the trips festival. Click here to read what he had to say and to view a couple of photos; one recent and another of him dancing like a madman in a top hat at the festival itself….