When did the 1960's Psychedelic era start? Many argue that it started on June 17, 1964 when the first psychedelic bus rolled across this country. Ken Kesey and the Merry Band of Pranksters, bankrolled with funds from One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, acquired professional film and audio equipment, a school bus, colorful striped shirts, and loads of paint. They splashed the paint across the bus named Furthur (or Further), strapped speakers on the top, and convinced beatnik hero Neal Cassady to drive Furthur and the Pranksters east.
The Pranksters filmed the entire trip, with America as the backdrop creating a new type of art-film "in the now." After this infamous trip, word spread about wild "happenings" occurring wherever these bus trip films were shown. Eventually these parties grew to include liquid light shows, sound effects, and special Kool-Aid punch. A then-unknown band called The Grateful Dead would play between film reels.
The psychedelic concert scene we know today arose directly from this fantastic voyage 50 years ago. The trip and Furthur were immortalized in song (“Magic Bus” by The Who, “The Other One” by the Grateful Dead) and in literature (Tom Wolfe's bestseller, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test).
It was 45 years before Magic Trip was released in theaters so those who weren’t lucky enough to watch the films at Acid Tests in the 1960s could witness Furthur's historic journey, which changed the face of modern society. Click here to watch Magic Trip promo on YouTube.
This will be the first of many 50th anniversary events celebrating that loud and colorful decade. Zane Kesey (Ken's son) and various Merry Pranksters are hoping to get Ken's 1947 bus Furthur ready to attempt this grand trek once more and take Furthur, well, further.
WE INVITE YOU TO JOIN US as we spread that 60s-era love across the country. We aim to celebrate the innocent, spontaneous times of the 1964 bus trip and to capture each of these glorious moments as we see that spark that still exists in the eyes of America.
We expect a huge turnout in 2014 as we, with your financial help, show up in full Prankster style in various cities, parties, and the vibrant festival scene.
To which towns, cities, parties and festivals we will be able to bring the Bus and the Pranksters is entirely contingent on your generosity. The trip could be a few short weeks, or a few months, covering countless miles and many parties: it all depends on your contributions.
The more we raise over our target, the longer Furthur and the the Pranksters will be able to be on the road and recording the fun at every stop!
We plan on casting some of you as extras (selected from the resumes of the $200 donors) to join us on this merry escapade for the video documentary of this trip. Extras will become Merry Pranksters and join us on the bus for certain portions of the trip.
Happeners on the bus are likely to include original Pranksters, 60's luminaries, musicians of today and yesteryear, and special surprise guests. (Yes, many big names have expressed interest in joining us.)
Keep in mind the bus serves as a rolling recording studio with live FM broadcasting...and magic happens! We look forward to those unpredictable and fun surprises that the highways can bring while we keep those cameras rolling. We hope that the good cheer fostered by the sight of Furthur and crew "on the road again" will re-ignite the same passions in people as did that famous voyage in 1964.
With your help, we will create a lasting multi-media journal of Furthur's epic trip.
Sincerely, Zane Kesey and the Merry Pranksters
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge we see is the sheer silliness of driving a 67-year-old school bus across the country. Though in fine operational shape at the moment, Furthur could blow a transmission in the Rockies, grenade an engine in the Plains, or hit a moose in upstate Maine. Through Facebook, Twitter and other social media, we have taken the precaution of lining up mechanical parts that could be necessary during the 8500-mile journey, even with our stated confidence in Furthur making the trip without incident.
The compilation of all the video streams will fall to our in-bus IT person, who will also have the herculean task of keeping fans updated as to our progress, location, next event, town, and gas stop: a job fraught with its own difficulties and challenges. And finding an IT person who is ready and willing to work from a bouncing mobile "office" populated by a bunch of zany Pranksters will be its own challenge.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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