Festival Express

Rated 5.0

In the summer of 1970, promoters Ken Walker and Thor Eaton chartered a train across Canada from Toronto to Calgary for a series of concerts with an amazing lineup: the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, the Band, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Ian & Sylvia, Sha-Na-Na, Delaney & Bonnie, etc. Incredibly, the concerts flopped, boycotted by Canadian cheapskate hippies who thought $14 was too much to pay. Even more incredibly, the footage lay unreleased for 33 years, but it’s here now, and it’s one of the greatest concert films of all time. Beautifully shot (by Peter Biziou and Bob Fiore), edited (by Eamonn Power), recorded (by Peter Baldock) and organized (by director Bob Smeaton), it shows these legendary musicians in the early glow of world fame and the full vigor of youth (though Joplin would be dead in three months). J.L.