Festival Express | Chicago Reader

Festival Express

In 1970 an assortment of rock and blues acts (including the Grateful Dead, the Band, Janis Joplin, Buddy Guy, and the Flying Burrito Brothers) traveled across Canada by rail on a three-date festival tour, accompanied by booze, drugs, groupies, and the requisite film crew. If this documentary is to be believed, the trip was a continuous jam session interrupted only by the occasional nap or performance. In interviews conducted recently, the survivors recall the tour in warmly elegiac tones, though there are few surprises aside from the fact that the artists sided with the cops when fans tried to get in for free. The concert footage is generally quite good, and Joplin is astonishing, but with so many hours of footage you'd think there would be more unexpected moments. Bob Smeaton (The Beatles Anthology) directed. 90 min.


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