Mashable: Guitar Signed by Grateful Dead Raises $526,000 for Charity

Summary: Mashable highlights the silent auction organized by HeadCount at the Grateful Dead Fare Thee Well 50th Anniversary shows in Santa Clara and Chicago, which raised over $750,000 for MAPS and 16 other Participation Row non-profits. The article reviews the reasons behind hosting Participation Row at the historic concerts and mentions MAPS’ work to increase mainstream acceptance for research into the beneficial uses of psychedelics and marijuana.

Originally appearing here.

Bill Rathburn of Dallas, Texas, walked away with a piece of music history last weekend.

Rathburn, a devoted fan of the Grateful Dead, scored something that most Deadheads dream of. At a charity auction during the set break for the Grateful Dead’s final “Fare Thee Well” show in Chicago on Sunday, Rathburn purchased a one-of-a-kind D’Angelico EX-DC electric guitar signed by original band members Rob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann. The guitar’s back featured the band’s iconic skull logo with the number 50, and the words “Fare Thee Well.”

Rathburn bought the guitar for his daughter with a winning bid of $526,000, which will benefit 17 charities the band supports, including Oxfam, the Rainforest Action Network and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, which focuses on psychedelic and medical marijuana research and education.

The guitar’s starting bid was $5,000 at the first “Fare The Well” show on June 27 in Santa Clara, California. But once Weir played it on stage the following day, during the song “Row Jimmy,” interest in the axe skyrocketed. The bidding period ended at 9:30 p.m. local time on Sunday.

Bill Rathburn of Dallas, Texas, holding the commemorative Grateful Dead guitar for which had the winning bid of $526,000.

The auction, which included other memorabilia such as signed posters and Remo drumheads, was part of “Participation Row,” a charity effort throughout the tour spearheaded by nonprofit HeadCount to raise money for Dead-related charities. HeadCount is best known for its work to register voters at concerts.

“The Grateful Dead’s very first concert was a benefit show, so we honored that tradition by making their final shows a boon for the nonprofit organizations that are part of the Grateful Dead community,” Andy Bernstein, executive director of HeadCount, told Mashable.

Excluding the guitar, the other items raked in more than $250,000, meaning the auction raised more than $750,000 for charity. Each organization will receive more than $30,000 a piece from the guitar alone.

“We knew ‘Participation Row’ and the charities would be well-received, but had no idea just how well,” Bernstein said. “Between the collectible auction and the literally 10,000 socially conscious actions taken at the nonprofit tables, we made social good a big part of the experience, and ultimately part of the legacy.”