Back in the days: The 1970 Festival Express
friday, june 24th, 2016 / Editors
In summer 1970 the festival express was a legendary tour full of popular rock bands grooving across Canada, non-stop jamming sessions and partying on the Trans-Continental Express.
A train full of crazy musicians toured around on the railway tracks instead of flying into each city and stopped to perform in Toronto, Winnipeg and Calgary. Popular rock bands including Grateful Dead, The Band, Buddy Guys, Janis Joplin, Flying Burrito Bros and Delaney & Bonnie & Friends were jamming, drinking and sleeping on their tour train journey.
Passengers of the train even made a spontaneous stop to the liquor store as they drank the bar empty and ended up buying the entire alcoholic stock too. Even during the trip Jerry Garcia was able to talk his way through to take control of the driver’s seat and was ringing the train’s whistle.
The atmosphere during the tour was stated to be better than Woodstock as Kenny Gradney of the Delaney & Bonnie said “It was better than Woodstock, as great as Woodstock was.” And Mickey Hard of the Grateful Dead added “Woodstock was a treat for the audience, but the train was a treat for the performers.”
The train made history in the music scene but it was a complete financial disaster. The whole tour was recorded and some pieces still were found and so the documentary ‘Festival Express’ was premiered in 2003.
Next week one of our first festival train this year is ready for departure: the Balaton Sound Express. The Sziget Express still has a couple of spots free if you’re up for wild adventure with other festivalgoers, DJ’s and alcoholic beverages on board. And the Mixery Melt! where it is not just served as transportation but also as your hotel at the festival campsite!
See you abroad!