Festival Express

Festival Express

DVD - 2014
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In 1970, such names as Janis Joplin, The Band, and The Grateful Dead traveled by a customized train for five days to Toronto, Calgary, and Winnipeg for a mega-concert at each stop. This experience was filmed and some footage was locked away, until now.

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FESTIVAL EXPRESS is a documentary about the train trip across Canada in 1970 with Janis Joplin, The Band, Grateful Dead, Buddy Guy, and others. Concert stops were in Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary in early summer. The promoters lost money; they were dogged by protests intended to make the shows free to the public. This is an oft elided aspect of mega-festivals from of the Age of Aquarius -- hostility between scurrilous concert promoters and the idealistic audiences that they supposedly catered to. The resulting clashes between youth and security forces often masked the root causes of the violence -- ticket gouging and misrepresentation. Big-name bands like Led Zeppelin and the Jimi Hendrix Experience were often advertised but never actually booked. Janis Joplin, backed by the Full Tilt Boogie Band, is easily the best act featured in FESTIVAL EXPRESS. Her performances are on a whole different level. The Dead and The Band really don't even come close. After seeing her do "Tell Mama," I thought, "Jesus! She must have terrified white people." Janis has a rap about what a woman needs, and what the teenage boy wants, etc. J. Edgar Hoover probably had Special Agents thinking of ways to take her down. Too radical.

j
janechese
Dec 31, 2016

Historical look at the bands that travelled on the Festival Express train across Canada in 1970, fun to watch and personally interesting because I attended one of the concerts and saw Janis Joplin who died months later. It was a look at the music and partying, amazing that anyone survived that generation.

m
MeReneG
Sep 03, 2016

An interesting look at a train trip unlike any other -- before or since -- involving musicians (e.g., Buddy Guy, Janis Joplin) and groups (e.g., Ian & Sylvia, The Band, The Greatful Dead) who later helped define their generation's music.

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