Thursday, December 06, 2007
A Canadian Phenomenon
I've been wanting to see Festival Express for a couple of years. I was helping my sister and her family move two years ago and got together with an older friend in Calgary. He was reminising about his teen years and somehow he started telling me about this concert in Calgary. He said he and his friends hitchhiked down to Calgary from Edmonton to see Janis Joplin and The Grateful Dead play in a park outside. I was like WHAT? WHEN?
I had never heard of this thing before and couldn't believe it...he said the bands were travelling across Canada on a train and would play for kids. He said the city of Calgary let all the kids camp in the park that runs between two Rivers, the Elobw and The Bow now named Prince's Island Park.
This seemed extrodinary to me...and then he told me there was a movie somewhere being released about this event. I didn't get to see it till tonight and it is really something. Immediately I said to Stagg my god...they've done something extrodinary with the aiudio. I was fascinated with this movie for a couple of reasons, one because I am so crrazy about music and two because this is a major aspect of Canadiana. And finally I was excited to see this film to see what a director and producers would make of putting footage from 35 years ago together for audiences today.
The film captures an innocent time and a time where people weren't so fragmented and posturing about "what kind of music they liked"....it was a time when music wasn't used as an excuse to love one band and trash another in the same breath. Genres of musicians, from pop to blues to psychedelic to greaser rock and folk were together and kids and audiences exposed themselves to all music holisitically.
Music has been deemed "historically correct" or "authentic" and record companies have made money off the posturing of fans. No one was hating on music because of it's popularity or it's production values or lack thereof:they may have rejected the materialism of some personas, but they were also all commerically viable musicians themselves. Eventually the record companies cashed in on fragmentation and the audiences ghettoizing music. Back in the days of this concert..I believe the audience was probably more discerning. In the last two decades you have fans who have ghettozied their own listening tastesand consequently the record companies will only pay for genre artists. I suspect the limited unvaried tastes of most music fans has contributed to a generation of people who have prejudiced ears and a lack of listening stature.
The performances of such a variety of musicians is awesome and you can enjoy Buddy Guy, The Band, The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Sylvia Tyson and others while seeing rare footage of a long lost transportation...THE TRAIN!
What a fucking rocking movie!
My first impression, how could this have happened in Canada? Now, I don't think it could have happened anywhere else.