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Festival Express (2003)

Cast: The Band, Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, Flying Burrito Brothers, more...
Director: Bob Smeaton
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Rating:
Studio: New Line Home Video
Genre: Documentary, Music, Music Videos/Performance, Documentary, Music
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish
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Synopsis
In 1970, with seemingly every North American city of any size holding a rock festival after the success of Woodstock, Ken Walker and Thor Eaton, a pair of Canadian entrepreneurs and music buffs, had an idea: instead of setting up one massive show with a bunch of top-name acts, why not stage a series of them across the country? With this in mind, Walker (then only 22 years old) and Eaton (whose family owned one of Canada's most successful department store chains) signed up Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead, the Band, Buddy Guy, the Flying Burrito Brothers, and several others and hired out a private train that would carry the musicians in high style for a string of five shows from Toronto to Calgary. The jaunt was called "The Festival Express," and a camera crew tagged along to capture the shows on film, as well as the constant party that took place en route. The tour proved to be a financial bust and, as a result, the footage sat on the shelf for over thirty years until director Bob Smeaton recut the material into Festival Express, which not only documents the glorious folly of the tour, but offers a hindsight look at the events from some of the surviving participants. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Ratings

Festival Express (2003)
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6.08 (39 votes)
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Festival Express (Bonus Disc) (2003)
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6.50 (6 votes)
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GreenCine Member Reviews

Very slow, and uninteresting by obonin May 9, 2005 - 9:10 PM PDT
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2 out of 3 members found this review helpful
Pros:
- Nicely filmed, quality of the footage is great.
- You get to know about this train ride with all those great musicians.
- A few interesting points about the people trying to get in for free, expecting this kind of festival to be just free.

Cons:
- So long for what is in the documentary. It should have been not more than 30-45 minutes long with the kind of footage they used in the film. There are super extensive scenes of the bands on stage, and so many of them that you feel that's all you're watching. That's not a good editorial work.
- It is about this train where all these musicians were on, and you don't see anything else but a few jam sessions, and especially this one where the grateful and janis joplin are pretty high on some drugs/alcohol and it's not that interesting to watch. It's like you're watching these cool kids that made a cool documentary about themselves.


As boring as the documentary itself by obonin May 9, 2005 - 8:25 PM PDT
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1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
What seems like the most interesting feature on that DVD: the making of the documentary, is very boring. It is losing you in details that you don't need to have, giving you names of people that do not bring anything to the making of...

Really not recommended, use your slot for another DVD.

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