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Acid Test Casualty: Pranksters Withdraw Participation From Phantom AT50 Event

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We've always been a bit skeptical about the gala 50th Anniversary of the Acid Test that was supposed to coincide with the GD50 weekend in and around Chicago.

Whether it be the organizers' initial reticence about location and lineup, the logistical questions about getting folks to and from the event locations, the labyrinth set of options and prices, some of which seemed outrageous for a supposedly "affordable" event, hell event the lack of a website or formal online FAQ.

A month from the start time, there are still no answers.  And this was apparently some kind of deadline for the Merry Pranksters.  Zane Kesey posted the following to the Facebook Group that has been the hub for so much speculation and (mis-)information about the event.

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One of the Pranksters' representatives for this event, Derek Stevens, who I spoke to early on, was also left flummoxed.  Here are highlights of his Facebook rant, in which he details getting jerked around by Normal Bean, the event organizer, filled with outrageous promises (hahahaha Neil Young & Carlos Santana) and a constantly changing set of locations.  Full text below.

And the Merry Pranksters: dozens and dozens and dozens of people who we had the honor of riding with last summer,ready to mix it up and create the environment that a test so richly deserves. Tie Dyed crazies having fun interacting and acting up, playing music and telling stories. being the thread that ties the whole scene together and with a smile on their faces. From the standing art from Wizards Pranksterland to the Huggery, to the Bertha Bus, Euphoria Bus, Dead on and the variety of art cars we were having there. The scene would have been amazing.
We would love to be in Chicago.. hell, the Bus has never been more beautiful. Pranksters have been painting and refining everything for this. Normal has posted talk of "extorting." Normal and Groovy offered us money to the tune of 200k.. hell, if someone wants to pay you, sure.. but we cut that amount in half given the professed difficulties Groovy was having putting money together, but still hoping for something to come of Chicago, and then after waiting another week, asked if they would respond or even execute the contract by today. Nope.

 

So will this happen without the Pranksters?  Will it be the same? Who knows?  But watching the shit-show surrounding this should be at least as fun as the event.  Condolences to whomever gave these folks their money already.

Update (6/9):  This thing was more fucked up than I could have ever imagined.  Apparently Zane Kesey and Normal Bean were trying to hash out the details of this via Facebook.  Normal made promises of private trains to shuttle festival goers and all all-star lineup featuring the musical stylings of... Johnny Depp!  This already paper thin premise stunk from the get go.  H/T thoughtsonthedead

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Derek Stevens' Rant

Since the announcement of the FTW shows in Chicago, Zane, Mae-Day, the Librarian and I have been working on bringing the Merry Pranksters and the Bus to an event and making it epic. That is how we do it, by the way; we join up with a party planner / promoter and coordinate what the Merry Pranksters can bring to an event.
We were approached by Groovy World Media, specifically Normal Bean, about this very sort of party that he wanted to throw and wanted the Pranksters at. We were told by Normal about Pay Per View, NetFlix, HBO, Simulcasts from FTW, Neil Young and Carlos Santana! John Fogerty and David Crosby! Johnny Depp and Jeff Bridges! Fix the bus up, definitely! Contract will be coming! Here is some money for repairs to the roof and the thunder machine, yes, bring it! Fix it first! We have 20 million in the bank to start a tv channel with, and we want to film this event for it! Then they claimed we (The Pranksters) said we were securing the rights for them to film FTW... obviously not the case. Of course they also claim we took out a trademark on the "Merry Pranksters"...
It never was. We did recieve $9K. (not 10K) And we moved ahead; assured by Normal of contracts coming and, in good faith, we painted the bus, we stripped the rooftop and rebuilt it with metal, we upgraded the microphones rebuilt the radiator and we hauled the thunder machine out of the bus barn to begin rebuilding it. All conditions of bringing a 68 year old Bus out in public and 2/3rds of the way across country
And no contract.
As for the venue we were assured we had Northerly Island...no, wait, McCormick Place. McCormick place AND Greyslake Expo for camping.... no we have Cinespace ( something like that)...no, we have a hold on Morgan Mfg... did I mention the place where the Bulls play... we are 'locked in' at Chicago Studio City...or not... We couldn't, twenty some odd days out from when the event was due to start, say where the event was being held. And still no contract.
The musicians.. we were asked to put our list of who we would want at the Test on a list. And we did. and we submitted it. ...Jay's Happy Sunshine Burger Joint, Sunshine Garcia Band, Betty Bowers, Adam's Ale, Rumpke Mountain Boys, David Gans, Joe Craven, The Grasshoppers, Stella Blues, Flow Poetry, Tom Constanten and Don Aters, Jojo Stella, Terrapin Flyer, Melvin Seals, Mark Karan, John Kadlecik. To be honest,I do not know how many are signed or not.
And the Performance and Visual Artists and the things they bring. Another entire list was submitted ... and I do not know if acted upon at all.
And the Merry Pranksters: dozens and dozens and dozens of people who we had the honor of riding with last summer,ready to mix it up and create the environment that a test so richly deserves. Tie Dyed crazies having fun interacting and acting up, playing music and telling stories. being the thread that ties the whole scene together and with a smile on their faces. From the standing art from Wizards Pranksterland to the Huggery, to the Bertha Bus, Euphoria Bus, Dead on and the variety of art cars we were having there. The scene would have been amazing.
We would love to be in Chicago.. hell, the Bus has never been more beautiful. Pranksters have been painting and refining everything for this. Normal has posted talk of "extorting." Normal and Groovy offered us money to the tune of 200k.. hell, if someone wants to pay you, sure.. but we cut that amount in half given the professed difficulties Groovy was having putting money together, but still hoping for something to come of Chicago, and then after waiting another week, asked if they would respond or even execute the contract by today. Nope.

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