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Festival Express (movie w/Dead, Band, Janis)


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This was forwarded to me, and I kinda thought everyone might want to know about it - holy crap, I've been waiting to see this for a long time. Wow, between the "Greendale" premiere and the "Go Further" movie in the spirit of the Merry Pranksters, there's sure a bunch of movies for heads this year. Seems "A Head's Tale" would fit in quite nicely with this year's lineup [Wink]

The Toronto International Film Festival


Tuesday, September 09 09:15 PM VARSITY 4

Saturday, September 13 02:45 PM VISA SCREENING ROOM (ELGIN)

Box Office at the new location: College Park, Market Level, 444 Yonge St


Film Title: Festival Express

Production Company: Apollo Films

Executive Producer: Ann Carli, Garth Douglas, Willem Poolman

Producer: Gavin Poolman, John Trapman

Director: Bob Smeaton

Cinematography: Peter Biziou, Bob Fiore

Editor: Eamonn Power

Sound: Eddie Kramer

Music: The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, The Band, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Eric Andersen, Buddy Guy, Great Speckled Bird

In the summer of 1970, a series of music festivals were held across Canada. After the first concert in Toronto, the musicians, roadies and a film crew boarded a private train to travel to the remaining events in Winnipeg and Calgary.

The Festival Express was the brainchild of two brash, young promoters named Ken Walker and Thor Eaton. Not satisfied with assembling one of the most incredible travelling concert bills in history (performers included Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead, The Band, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Eric Andersen, Buddy Guy, Great Speckled Bird, and many more) Walker and Eaton

decided that "packaging" the tour in the form of a CN railcar moving across the vast landscape would make for good times and good music.

How right they were. At the crest of the musical and social explosion that was the sixties, this contrast between the greatest musicians of their day (and, arguably, any day) and a leisurely mode of travel made for a combustible bell jar that vibrated with artistic camaraderie. They rocked,

they rolled, they jammed - all part of a bacchanal that chugged its way across the Canadian Shield and all documented on film.

The performers were confronted at every concert stop by protesters angry about the $14 ticket price ("Free the music - the music should be free!") but this did not prevent them giving their all for the thousands who flocked to see them. This never-before-seen footage (in which Willem Poolman, father of producer Gavin Poolman, captured performances both on stage and onboard

the train) reminds us of the sheer electricity performers like Joplin were capable of creating.

The footage was lost in legal proceedings for years, but ninety hours of raw negative and forty hours of uncut sound recording fortuitously found their way to the Budge Crawley vault in the National Archives of Canada. With music mixed by Eddie Kramer (producer of Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and Santana), Bob Smeaton's documentary immortalizes performances that - in comparison to those found in the controlled set-ups of most concert films - are unmistakably raw and immediate. Festival Express is more than the sum of its extraordinary parts; it captures a uniquely Canadian experience and the spirit of an age.

- Jane Schoettle

Bob Smeaton is an established director of musical documentaries featuring such performers as The Beatles, The Band, The Who, Meatloaf and Genesis. He was the series director on ABC's award-winning "The Beatles Anthology" (95) and directed an episode of the VH1 series "Classic Albums" (97) that chronicled the making of The Band's self-titled 1969 album. Festival Express (03) is his latest documentary.

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Cheers Jaimoe,

Well looks like saturday it is then,works better for me anyway.Dropping that beer was surely an expesive disappointment,......dam rye [Wink]

Not sure which Jay your refering to?

Hey Mulemomma,

Long time no speak,seems we always do that [Frown]

Are you going to make it to a screening?Want to meet up sat?

Hope so,be great to see you again. [big Grin]

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Don't know why, but I heard that the Tuesday night's show is sold out - that was the one I was contemplating calling in sick to work for.

Hey Trevor, it's possible that the link I posted might take you to some sort of ticket purchase site, but I'm not quite sure.

And Greg, yeah, the damn scheduling conflicts - in fact my schedule seems to conflict with everyone's since I work nights and many weekends. Looks like I'm heading out of town that weekend, so I'll have to wait until the movie (hopefully) hits the reps. Might make it out to PJC tonight for Slammin Jack though - you gonna be there?

Peace - MM

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This sounds great. Must be Janis without Big Brother? If you've never seen the film "Nine Hundred Nights", you should. It's a good slice of Janis with Big Brother - raw, jammy and original. Big Brother were sooooooooo sloppy but capable of such greatness.


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Yes, it is sold out, but there may be rush tickets available day of the show.

From the FilmFest website:

Sold Out? Maybe not — check out the rush lines

Sometimes tickets become available at the last minute. These tickets are sent to the theatres to be sold to the Rush Lines. Here's how it works: when a screening is sold out, a line of non-ticket holders may form outside the theatre — this is known as the Rush Line. If there are empty seats available just prior to the screening, the Festival's Theatre Representative may allow people from the Rush Line to purchase tickets or exchange an appropriate pass or coupon to gain admittance. There is no guarantee that anyone in the Rush Line will gain admittance.

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its NOT sold out! I just went to the box office and picked up 6 tix. They're 14.50 each, and there's a limit of 4 tix, but its pretty easy to sweet talk the ticket lady.(i had to promise i wouldn't scalp them!!) The box office is at 444 Yonge St. and they don't take debit cards, but VISA or cash is cool. See y'all there!

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Originally posted by chicken butta:
its NOT sold out! I just went to the box office and picked up 6 tix. They're 14.50 each, and there's a limit of 4 tix, but its pretty easy to sweet talk the ticket lady.(i had to promise i wouldn't scalp them!!) The box office is at 444 Yonge St. and they don't take debit cards, but VISA or cash is cool. See y'all there!

WOO-HOO,thanks for gettin these.You rock girl.

Talk to ya later on today I guess,if not then tomorrow.

On the sold out rumor,I talked to a guy today thats working the festival and he was saying that this show was not sold out but was only sold out for the tuesday screening NOT the saturday screening.Tickets were on sale all week he mentioned.

See ya'll there [big Grin]

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Here's a review from The Globe and Mail:

Festival Express


Bob Smeaton (Canada/U.K.)

Talk about your slow train coming: 33 years after some of the world's greatest rock acts -- the Band, the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Delaney and Bonnie, among them - climbed aboard a CN passenger train to perform in stadiums in Toronto, Winnipeg and Calgary, the long-lost film footage of that fabled journey has finally been pulled together in one groovy documentary. The music does most of the talking here, as director Smeaton wisely gives us entire performances of songs, instead of excerpts intercut with interviews or voiceovers. The trans-Canada trek was a financial disaster and beset, too, by the politics of the time but musically it was a triumph both on the train -- as musicians jammed day and night between the stadium gigs -- and off. Best moments: Rick Danko, Jerry Garcia, Janis Joplin and Bob Weir doing a drunken but heartfelt Ain't No Cane on the Brazos ; Festival Express organizer Ken Walker's acerbic postmortem 30 years after the fact: "I gave the public too much and they didn't deserve it." -- J.A.

(Today, 9:15 p.m., Varsity 4; Saturday, 2:45 p.m., Elgin.)

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