2003 – R – 90 Minutes
Festival Express is a 2003 documentary film about the eponymous 1970 train tour across Canada taken by some of North America’s most popular rock bands, including The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, The Band and Delaney & Bonnie & Friends. The film combines live footage shot during the 1970 concerts, as well as footage aboard the train itself, interspersed with present-day interviews with tour participants sharing their often humorous recollections of the events.
Festival Express was staged in three Canadian cities: Toronto, Winnipeg and Calgary, during the summer of 1970. Rather than flying in to each city, the musicians traveled by chartered Canadian National Railways train, in a total of 14 cars (two engines, one diner, five sleepers, two lounge cars, two flat cars, one baggage car, and one staff car). The train journey between cities ultimately became a combination of non-stop jam sessions and partying, fueled by alcohol. One highlight of the documentary is a drunken jam session featuring The Band’s Rick Danko, the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir, NRPS John Dawson and Janis Joplin.