Friday, September 3, 2004



Following the great success of the three day 1969 Woodstock concert in upper New York state, Ken Walker a 22-year old commerce student and his friend Thor Eaton (of the department-store dynasty) decided to stage a series of concerts across Canada by a dozen artists or so. Travelling from Toronto, Winnipeg and Calgary in a chartered CN train the Festival Express also made one more unscheduled stop in Saskatoon.

Janis Joplin who performs “Cry Baby” and “Mama
Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead sings several songs
The Band performs “Slippin' and Slidin'
Buddy Guy croons “Money
Ian and Sylvia Tyson perform “CC Rider
along with The Flying Burrito Brothers and quite a few others

The film is 25% documentary (the occasional commentary by some of the principals) and 75% concert by some of the more popular artists back in the summer of 1970. Unlike documentaries about Woodstock where as much emphasis is on the crowd and their antics, this one pretty much sticks to what the artists were doing.

for some language and drug use.

In Toronto, a local radical group of greedy, bullying fans rebelled against the $14 ticket price and threatened to shut down the show unless it was given 60 percent of the gate plus ''free food and free dope''. In Calgary, the mayor called Ken Walker ''a capitalist rip off son of a bitch'' and insisted that children be allowed to enter for free. Because of these setbacks and other unforeseen expenses, the show went into bankruptcy leaving 75 hours of film stored in garages and basements of various unpaid cameramen. It took the producers 10 years to get performance rights and conduct filmed interviews with some of the performers to put this movie together.

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