Archive of films Festival Express / Festival Express

Canada / United Kingdom
2003, 90 min

Section: Forum of Independents - Competition
Year: 2004

In the summer of 1970, a train journeyed across Canada carrying some of the greatest rock bands of the time. Janis Joplin, The Band, The Grateful Dead, Buddy Guy and others, lived and partied together for five days, giving concerts wherever and whenever they stopped. A documentary about the greatest non-stop rock’n’roll party ever. 


Synopsis

In the summer of 1970, a train journeyed across Canada carrying some of the greatest rock bands of the time. Janis Joplin, The Band, The Grateful Dead, Delaney & Bonnie, Buddy Guy, Ian & Sylvia and others lived and partied together for five days, giving concerts wherever and whenever they stopped. The train was called the Festival Express. It was the greatest, and certainly the longest, non-stop rock’n’roll party ever. However, entirely in agreement with the spirit of the era, the audiences in Toronto protested against ticket prices ($14 US): they felt music should be free. As a reaction, The Grateful Dead gave a free concert in a local park. Recordings were made of this as well. The most fascinating footage is however from the train, shot in a total cinema-verité style. Due to endless legal arguments, the cans of film spent years lying on the shelf. Only in 1995 were they found in the National Film Archives of Canada. The last great rockumentary from this era could finally be made. 

About the director

Bob Smeaton (b. 1957, Newcastle, United Kingdom) made renowned music documentaries about The Beatles, The Who, Meat Loaf and Genesis. He received two Grammy Awards for his work: for The Beatles Anthology (1996) and Hendrix Band of Gypsies (2000).    

Contacts

HanWay Films
24 Hanway Str., W1T 1UH, London
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 207 290 0750
E-mail: info@hanwayfilms.com
www: www.hanwayfilms.com

Apollo Films
, NW3 6PX, London
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 20 779 415 98
Fax: +44 20 779 415 98

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Forum of Independents - Competition
   
Director: Bob Smeaton
Dir. of Photography: Peter Biziou, Bob Fiore
Editor: Eamonn Power
Producer: Gavin Poolman, John Trapman
Production: Apollo Films
Contact: HanWay Films, Apollo Films
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