Festival Express

Rated R 90 minutes 2003

In 1970, post Woodstock, promoters had the well-meaning idea of taking some of the world’s greatest bands on a cross-Canada tour by train, providing day-long music festivals for a $16 ticket. The Grateful Dead, The Band, Janis Joplin and Buddy Guy among others got on the tracks, drank a lot of booze and played their hearts out. This film boasts some incredible concert footage, as well as some tasty on-train jams from mightily intoxicated musical superstars. But it’s most interesting when retelling events in certain Canadian territories where protesters refused to pay for music and demanded free entrance. The protests often erupted into violence, with policeman and civilians getting major injuries and performers like The Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir becoming enraged. Due to the protests, the festival lost a lot of money, and some people missed out on music history. As for the performances, Buddy Guy steals the film with his rendition of "Money," although Joplin is no slouch with "Cry Baby." This is an intriguing and entertaining concert film/documentary.

Film Credits

Official Site: www.festivalexpress.com

Director: Bob Smeaton

Producer: Gavin Poolman and John Trapman

Cast: Janis Joplin and The Grateful Dead

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