The Festival Express was a short but legendary tour that played three cities in Canada in the summer of 1970. Despite the entire tour being filmed and recorded, very little of the Dead’s performances has come to light. Bits and pieces have become available, but it’s unknown how much more survives. The few parts of the Dead’s shows that are available have often been misdated, and there is not much information on what else was played.
This post lays out all the information we have on the Dead’s shows. The first part is an accurate itinerary for the tour, showing what songs come from where. The second part consists of longer explanatory notes on our sources.
I focused entirely on the Dead's onstage appearances - I haven't looked into the other bands filmed on the tour. Other researchers would have to say which dates the film footage & recordings of the Band and Janis come from.
The story behind the train tour is well-known and won't be repeated here, but for a short overview, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Festival_Express
The news articles linked at the bottom also provide more background, including a long Rolling Stone article with some details on the shows.
I. THE SHOWS:
6/24/70 MONTREAL -
This show was canceled before the tour started. (Fortunately for us, since that meant the Dead could play in Port Chester that day!)
6/27/70 CORONATION PARK, TORONTO -
A short clip of an acoustic Dead set from this free show is in the film.
The audio is Friend of the Devil - however, it doesn't match the footage, so it could come from anywhere.
Per Deadlists: “According to Malcolm O'Brien the Dead played a free acoustic set from a flatbed truck, mostly tunes from Workingman's Dead and American Beauty.”
According to newspaper reports, the free park show started at 7 pm and ran til 4 am, with thousands of attendees. Other bands included Ian & Sylvia, James & the Good Brothers, and several local bands.
The Dead were likely the first band to play, starting the show around 7. They would have returned to the stadium by 9.
6/27/70 CNE STADIUM, TORONTO -
Garcia's afternoon stage announcement about the free show is in the film.
Nothing from the Dead's stadium show is available. But one audience member states, "I recorded the whole thing on cassette. The Dead's set list that day was
as follows: 1) Casey Jones. 2) China Cat Sunflower-I Know You
Rider 3) Me and My Uncle 4) Easy Wind 5) Cumberland Blues 6)
Turn on Your Lovelight. The set was short due to time
Per Deadlists: “David Galbraith, an audience member, recalls that NRPS opened and that the Dead's set included Lovelight and Casey Jones.”
Rolling Stone: “A kid came onstage and pointed to each member of the Dead and shouted, ‘You’re all phonies, you and you and you.’”
Toronto Daily Star 6/29/70 review: “The New Riders of the Purple Sage appeared at 9:00 p.m…. The New Riders injected the first signs of life when they started with their country-style almost hoe-down music. The crowd started dancing when they played Honky Tonk Woman, and stayed on their feet through Working Man Blues, I Don't Know You, and Brown-Eyed Handsome Man. Jerry Garcia just stayed on stage when the rest of the New Riders left, and took over with The Grateful Dead. They gave a great foot-stomping, pounding, hour-long set, the audience with them all the way, dancing and singing with the first hint of joy and happiness in the whole long hot day… They left the stand, all sweaty and tired… The Band…seemed anti-climactic after the Grateful Dead.”
6/28/70 CORONATION PARK, TORONTO -
The Dead played in the park again. No audio is available from this show.
There are a few minutes of silent film footage, though - the Dead are playing New Speedway Boogie, with Pigpen on harmonica: https://vimeo.com/146999213
Rolling Stone: “The Dead, Purple Sage, Ian & Sylvia, James & the Good Brothers, and People’s Revolutionary Concert Band played to 4000 kids the first day and 500 the second day.”
Per Deadlists: “According to Malcolm O'Brien this was an all-electric show. Good Lovin' is the only tune he remembers.”
The free show again ran til early morning, but we don’t know when the Dead might have played.
6/28/70 CNE STADIUM, TORONTO -
The Dead did not play the stadium again on this day.
7/1/70 WINNIPEG STADIUM, WINNIPEG -
Easy Wind (film, Archive)
Candyman, electric version (Archive)
Deadlists reported back in 2000: “According to Ihor Slabicky a circulating videotape copy of Festival Express footage contains Easy Wind & Candyman.”
Phil Lesh: “We were expecting more break-ins during the Winnipeg show; thankfully only about one hundred protesters showed up, chanting ‘Make it free’… The show came off with no other incidents as such, except that the crowd was really small.” (Searching for the Sound p.181)
John Einarson: “I remember the Grateful Dead being rather ‘testy’ to say the least. When someone in the crowd shouted something to them I'll never forget Phil Lesh stepping to the mike and replying, ‘Suck my cock, hard rock!’”
Chris Doole: “When the Dead performed ‘Alligator’ it got into this groove where it started to sound like 25 perfectly synchronized locomotives with Garcia’s tasty little trills on top of it all. Everyone's attention was just nailed to it.”
http://www.manitobamusicmuseum.com/festivalexpress.htm (Einarson's long account of the Winnipeg festival)
Einarson also noted that during the Great Speckled Bird set, “Jerry Garcia from the Dead stood onstage and watched the GSB’s steel player Buddy Cage through their whole set.”
7/3/70 MCMAHON STADIUM, CALGARY -
There was no show this day. I don't know why this date was reported for a Dead show.
The Calgary festival ran on 7/4 and 7/5. I believe the Dead played on 7/4, but see the notes for a discussion of this.
7/4/70 MCMAHON STADIUM, CALGARY -
An afternoon show.
Acoustic: Don't Ease Me In (film)
Acoustic: Candyman, Dire Wolf, Uncle John's Band; “Now the New Riders.” (Taper's Section)
NRPS clip (on youtube, no audio)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUQW3jkHzMI (silent, Garcia up front on pedal steel)
Electric: Me & My Uncle, China>Rider (Taper's Section)
Electric: Hard to Handle (DVD & partial on Archive "7/1/70")
Electric: New Speedway Boogie (film & Taper's Section)
Electric: Lovelight (Taper's Section & partial clips on youtube)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJhnOq2q3ag (9 minutes of excerpts)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXUbDTPBpKI (a brief snippet from the end of Lovelight, from a different camera – begins with the very end of New Speedway)
(The Lovelight has just recently appeared, and I think it's pretty cool to watch, even though it's just 10 minutes of snippets, and the camera angles are mostly not too great. We get some closeups of the drummers - check out Garcia around 8:00, as the band hits a peak. These shots of Garcia were also used in the Hard to Handle on the film’s bonus DVD.)
Per Deadlists: “Howard Mott remembers the Dead-NRPS show running about 4 hours in all… He remarks that Bobby and Phil as well as Jerry took part in the NRPS set… Lovelight was the set closer… It was part of a 2-day festival, with Janis and the Band playing on the [next day].” He recalled several of the songs we now have, though his 4-hour estimate seems like a considerable exaggeration for a shortened festival set (or even for a regular evening).
Kreutzmann is the only drummer in the acoustic set.
Pigpen plays harmonica in two songs (Don't Ease & New Speedway), neither of them his usual harmonica songs. His keyboard is behind him, but he doesn't play it on any of these songs.
The acoustic set is unremarkable, the electric set much better. China>Rider is very good; Hard to Handle doesn't take off, but Garcia plays a nice snaky solo. The harmonica adds a bluesy feel to New Speedway, and Garcia drops in Nobody's Fault But Mine during his solo.
Lovelight sounds like it comes out of another song (maybe Not Fade Away?) - it's an average version. Pigpen gives his usual raps, for instance: "I wanna tell all you fellas somethin' - I'm gonna talk to the fellas - I know, you may be wonderin' how come you spend your life in a empty bed - tell you what - you may see some young lady sittin' next to you...I tell ya, the first thing you do...is get off your ass and stand up, and take the nearest young lady with you - come on, I see you fellas out there, you're sittin' on your butts...get 'em up, maybe you'll get a little pussy this evenin' - and the next thing you do, you take your hands out of your pockets and do something better with 'em, like make a little noise..." Judging from the film clip, a lot of people were indeed sitting at the start of Lovelight, but Pigpen succeeds in getting everyone up front to stand up & clap.
Overall, this sounds like a fine, typical 1970 show, standard setlist, with the band none the worse for wear after the drunken train parties on the ride to Calgary...
Film director Bob Smeaton: “[Editing the film,] Eddie Kramer was amazed how these guys could party all night and day on the train and still turn in such amazing performances.”
Phil Lesh: “Hangovers notwithstanding, all the bands played really well at that show.” (Searching for the Sound p.184)
Rolling Stone: “Musically, the groups all played better and better as the Festival progressed… At the Calgary Festival, there was an open jam featuring Bonnie & Delaney, Ian & Sylvia, Rick Danko, and Jerry Garcia. This would have been inconceivable at the Toronto Festival.”
Garcia, Kreutzmann & Weir can also be seen in the nighttime jam with Ian & Sylvia doing CC Rider, probably the same day.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=peDoZBWHLTE (The youtube clip is much longer than what is shown in the film, though lesser quality.)
Back in 2000 there were already circulating videos of Don’t Ease Me In, New Speedway Boogie, and the CC Rider jam.
The Friend of the Devil played in the film’s park scene is most likely from the Calgary acoustic set.
The end of the film has audio of an acoustic Cold Jordan with NRPS, which could come from anywhere, but is most likely from Calgary.
There is also a tape of one of the jam sessions on the train, with several guitarists & pedal steel:
http://www.archive.org/details/gd1970-07-00.aud.miller.106571.flac16 (not mixed very well)
* * *
The Dead definitely did not record their own shows on this tour. All the recordings were made by the film crew – they seem to have been poorly labeled & disorganized, and some may have been lost in the chaos after filming was completed.
David Lemieux mentioned in a 2005 interview:
"I think six songs by the Dead were filmed. Two were in the movie [Don't Ease Me In & New Speedway]. Two were in the bonus disc [Hard to Handle & Easy Wind], and there were two that didn't make the cut. I did recently hear the audio tapes from Winnipeg and Calgary and they were pretty good. It's basically two full shows, maybe an hour & a quarter each... The shows, I think they’re excellent. There’s some interesting material. I know there was a good China>Rider and a good Lovelight [probably the ones he's put on the Taper's Section]. Bunch of neat stuff. Typical 1970 material: some sloppy stuff, some out of tune stuff, but also some incredibly interesting Pigpen stuff. There's a good Attics of My Life, too."
So the Vault appears to have the complete shows from 7/1 and 7/4, each around 75 minutes long.
He didn’t say which show Attics was from, but it was mostly played electric at that point. (There is an acoustic version at the 6/24/70 early show; but that was in the special confines of the Capitol Theater, and I wouldn't expect the Dead to try it acoustic in a festival stadium setting.)
THE TAPER’S SECTION
A few years ago, Lemieux played a few tracks from the Festival Express tour on the Taper's Section, dated like this:
7-1-70 China>Rider - 3/10/08
7-1-70 Lovelight - 6/30/08
7-1-70 Candyman, Dire Wolf, Uncle John's Band, Me and My Uncle, China>Rider - 6/29/09
7-3-70 China>Rider, Lovelight - 7/2/07
7-3-70 New Speedway Boogie - 9/29/08
However, not only are the Lovelights from 7/1 & 7/3/70 the same track, the China>Riders are also the same.
(Lemieux even commented in the 6/30/08 Taper's Section that he'd played the Lovelight before, while dating it 7/1/70 – though it had been dated 7/3/70 before.)
On 6/29/09 he played a longer chunk of this show, including the end of the acoustic set; it's announced, "now the New Riders," then we cut to the electric set, with MAMU & the same China>Rider. (The opening of Dire Wolf is cut; and there are gaps between the songs, rather than running continuously.) This set is dated 7/1/70 again.
Lemieux also played New Speedway in the 9/29/08 Taper's Section, dated 7/3/70. (The only one of these clips in stereo; the rest are mono.) This is the same New Speedway that's in the Festival Express film.
Part of a Lovelight from the Festival Express tour was recently uploaded on youtube. As you can hear, it's the same one that's on the Taper's Section. It's also from the same show as Don't Ease, New Speedway & Hard to Handle in the Festival Express video – all from Calgary 7/4/70.
So, all the tracks Lemieux has played from this tour are actually from the 7/4 show – though he dates them both 7/1 and 7/3. This doesn’t say much for the tape labeling, especially since there was no show on 7/3, and none of these tracks are from 7/1. Evidently there's some date mixup on these tapes in the Vault!
The possibility arises that the Vault may have duplicate reels of the same material, labeled as being from two different cities. Only Lemieux would know.
The day had started out with many crowd disturbances and interruptions; by the time the Dead came on, most of the discontented had drifted to the park and the audience was probably much more peaceful.
The New Riders started at 9 pm, and probably played about 45 minutes before the Dead, who played roughly an hour-long set. The Band followed them, closing the day and ending around 12:30. (Janis closed the show the next day, 6/28, coming on at 11:30.)
It was rather generous of the promoters to include the New Riders on this tour. There were already almost 20 bands playing, and NRPS did not even have their own album out (and weren’t billed), so they would have simply extended the Dead’s time slot. Fortunately, NRPS was well-received.
This page shows the planned lineup of bands in each city (though it's an incomplete listing):
Although Deadlists lists several songs for the CNE Stadium show, they’re actually from the two other shows. (The Deadlists entry was written long before the Festival Express movie came out, let alone the newer material we have, so it’s out of date; but it illustrates how tricky it was to date these tape clips.)
An audience member remembers Lovelight, which was the Dead’s surefire crowd-pleaser that year, and as the newspaper review attests, it successfully excited the crowd.
It strikes me as curious that we have neither sound nor video for even a second of the Dead's Toronto show; nor apparently is it in the Vault. It may be lost, if it was ever filmed.
The Coronation Park show in the film can safely be established as 6/27/70. Garcia is wearing the same shirt as in his earlier stadium stage announcement; we can see the sun is low in the sky during the Dead's performance, matching a time of roughly 7 or 8 pm, when we know the park show was starting; and the Dead are playing acoustically, which a witness reported for that day’s show.
The Dead played in the park two days in a row, per the Rolling Stone article. (The newspaper account for Sunday 6/28 is more vague, but it's clear there was a park show that evening as well.) Since they had the day free on 6/28, they could have played at any time that day. But all we know of the show is a dim memory that it was an electric show that included Good Lovin’. A few minutes of silent footage also exists, multiple-camera film crew outtakes evidently filmed on the 28th since the Dead are in different clothes: https://vimeo.com/146999213
Although the film has a brief snippet of Friend of the Devil from the 6/27 park show, it's not synced to the footage. They're playing acoustic, but not that song (I can’t tell what they’re playing, you can only see a few brief strums.) There’s no telling where the audio clip comes from, but it's likely the film crew might not have recorded audio for the park show.
I suspect there isn't much more footage (& possibly no audio) from either of the park shows. The film crew would not have been prepared to film two separate concert locations at once (let alone setting up the park sound recording as well), so my guess is their filming in the park was brief & limited, and they concentrated on the stadium shows.
To make sure Easy Wind was accurately dated, I checked the Winnipeg clips, comparing Buddy Guy’s footage in the film (definitely from Winnipeg) with the Easy Wind. And Easy Wind is indeed from 7/1/70.
The Rolling Stone article pointed out that the stadium was right next to the fairgrounds.
During Buddy's solo, looking out you can see a fairground ride turning around behind the bleachers. Just after his set, there's a shot of the ferris wheels lit up at night, the front one in yellow.
In the nighttime crowd shots in Easy Wind, we can see that same fairground ride turning around, and briefly during the jam, we can also see the yellow-lit ferris wheel turning around.
On the Archive tape of 7/1/70, Easy Wind is the same as in the film. Listening to the tape, we can tell that Candyman directly follows Easy Wind – they go straight from one song to the next.
So these two songs were accurately dated – however the clip also contains part of the Hard to Handle from Calgary.
Although this audio clip is said to be taken from VHS footage, I'm not aware of any video circulating for the Candyman.
From John Einarson’s account of the day, with 14 bands billed, even if some of the lesser-known bands played briefer sets, we still have at best one hour per band to play even though the festival ran late. The Dead played sometime after dark; they were followed by the Band again, who apparently came on after midnight and (per Rolling Stone) “played a short set;” then Janis followed sometime after 1 am. I would be surprised if the Dead played much longer than 60-75 minutes. NRPS probably did not play.
I strongly doubt the audience memory that Alligator was played. This was infrequent at the time (mostly played in their “home” venues), and would be a surprise to find in such a short festival set.
We have a large part of this show – Lemieux said the tape of this show was “maybe an hour and a quarter,” and the selections we have are an hour long. I'm not sure the show was much longer.
At Toronto 6/27, the Dead's set was about an hour (plus the NRPS set) - with even more bands appearing at Calgary, they shouldn’t have had a longer time slot.
And yet, they might have played longer. Although I don’t believe the deadlists witness’ claim that the NRPS-Dead show was 4 hours, still, the Dead played an acoustic set before NRPS, which they did not do in Toronto 6/27. (Or, technically, they seem to have played acoustic in the park, and then electric at CNE stadium.) Playing the additional acoustic set suggests that they had some more time.
There were certainly more electric songs. Me & My Uncle was never the first song of a set, and there appears to be a missing song before Lovelight.
My guess is that Friend of the Devil & Cold Jordan in the film come from the Calgary show, that being the only known recorded acoustic set. But we have the end of the acoustic set, so it’s hard to know where Cold Jordan would fit – perhaps it was an encore. (I wouldn't put it past the producers to have just grabbed the audio from an already circulating 1970 show!)
The date of this show isn’t known for certain. We have two initial reasons to think it was 7/4/70: a deadlists witness said the Dead played the first day of the two-day festival; and that was the way they’d done it in Calgary. (The old mistaken Deadbase date of 7/3 may also reflect that they played on the first day.)
They are clearly playing in the afternoon. On the previous two dates, they’d played evening sets, as one of the top-billed bands; so it’s strange to find them one of the first bands on the first day, especially with so many local opening bands available. (About 20 bands were to appear.)
But there is also the matter of Garcia’s shirt. He has a purple t-shirt on during the Dead’s set.
The “all-star” jam with Ian & Sylvia is evidently later that evening, for he’s wearing the same shirt, now with a denim overshirt. (Kreutzmann also appears, still wearing his flowery shirt from the Dead’s set.) Then at the start of Janis Joplin’s set, when she gives gifts to the promoters, Garcia seems to have the denim shirt buttoned over the same shirt still. (His pants seem to be the same as well.)
There is no evidence for what date the Ian & Sylvia jam occurred, except that it took place shortly after sunset. I thought Janis closed the festival on 7/5/70, especially given her gift-giving ceremony. And yet, Janis Joplin’s Calgary live tracks released on a couple albums are dated 7/4/70. (And the Band have released a couple Calgary tracks dated 7/5/70, though they were not the closers at the earlier shows – and who else would be the last to go on?)
Not only that, but Janis apparently played a show at Seattle’s Sicks Stadium on 7/5/70 (and went on to play Honolulu on 7/6). I’ve seen several people online mention that they went to the Seattle show, so evidently it was played, which would explain why she didn’t close the Calgary festival on 7/5, but the Band did.
In short, it appears that Janis closed on the first night, 7/4, and the Dead played earlier that day.
The CC Rider jam may have come at the end of Ian & Sylvia’s set. The youtube clip starts with a glimpse of Ian & Sylvia during sunset (by CC Rider it is darker) – there’s also a newspaper photo from this show of Sylvia singing in daylight. At the end of CC Rider, everyone leaves the stage.
Per Deadlists: “The video contains a C.C. Rider from this show (nightime) from an all-star Jam. Slabicky lists personnel as follows: Garcia is playing [a Telecaster], Kreutzmann on tambourine, Sylvia Tyson of The Great Speckled Bird on vocals with other members of this band Jim Colegrove on bass, Buddy Cage on pedal steel, N.D. Smart on Drums, and Amos Garrett on lead guitar, Delaney Bramlett on guitar, the organ player from Delaney and Bonnie's group, and Ian Tyson on acoustic guitar. C.C. Rider is followed by Will The Circle Be Unbroken, with Bonnie Bramlett on vocals.”
This is puzzling, since Will the Circle does not seem to be on youtube. Rolling Stone also says that Rick Danko played in this jam, and he’s not in this segment. In any case, the jam seems to have been longer than what we have.
Weir can also briefly be seen wearing a dark hat, playing guitar in the shadows behind Buddy Cage & next to Garcia at the end.
Online trivia: "In the CC Rider performance, Garcia can be seen playing the famous rosewood Fender Telecaster played by George Harrison in the last public performance of The Beatles on the roof of Apple Headquarters. It was loaned to Garcia by Delaney Bramlett who can be seen on-stage beside Garcia. Harrison gave it to Bramlett after they toured together briefly."
It’s not known whether the film crew captured entire Dead shows. Judging from the Lovelight clip, individual cameramen felt free to stop filming & move around during songs; problems could also arise, film run out, or the footage could be unusable. As a result, I suspect shows from this tour survive mainly in pieces, with only some songs filmed with multiple cameras, and others missing chunks of footage or perhaps caught by only one badly-placed camera, or others lacking audio if an audio reel went awry.
Director Bob Smeaton said it took months just to sync the film and audio: “I listened to over sixty hours of audio… Very few of the film rolls had been logged, and it was trial and error trying to match the audio to the image. Also, the cameramen would run out of film ten minutes into a performance and we would have a black hole with audio but no pictures. Songs would have to be edited..."
And elsewhere: “Allegedly there are many hours of filmed material still missing. This became evident when I would hear audio materials but be unable to find the relevant footage to go with the audio. This was the case with Janis’ version of “Me and Bobby McGee.” I searched in vain for this footage... This was also the case with The New Riders’ performance of “Better Take Jesus’ Hand” [Cold Jordan]. I hope one day this lost film footage may come to light.”
One Archive commenter (N Hoey) spoke with a film producer who revealed more of the challenges:
“It was a tremendous challenge to assemble a coherent film from the available film and sound. That was mainly due to the fact that…it was a nonstop party which DID also involve the film/sound crew. MOST of the footage is technically too flawed to use. Shaky, blurry, out of focus with gaps that mean whole usable songs are few.. Shooting 16mm film back then required very serious attention to get quality footage. They had no way to see dailies, they just shot away and hoped for the best and it turned out that there was a lot of crappy useless footage… While they may have gotten far more technically sound audio, it appears the tapes were handled badly. 5 or 6 festival gigs would generate quite a few reels and apparently they weren't carefully labeled and kept fully organized. Also all the offstage filming generated numerous reels of sound to be kept track of too. Basically the whole thing was just too wild and chaotic for the documentary aspect of it to be done professionally well enough to provide a wealth of usable raw material. They had to scour all that they had to scrape together [90 minutes] of quality material that could stand as a documentary.“
It’s telling that all the Dead footage we have, besides the Easy Wind, is from the Calgary show. Perhaps this was the best-filmed, or the best-preserved.
With the film clips generally not identified, it took some detective work to place them in Calgary. When studying the footage, all the daytime shows tend to look similar since the same beat-up blue stage cover was used at every show, and the stadiums look more or less alike if you’re not keenly viewing the background. McMahon Stadium had distinctive red & white-striped stands, though. The other way to tell that all the Calgary clips were actually from the same show is by checking the clothes the band’s wearing. (Don’t Ease Me In was evidently the earliest song, since Phil & Pigpen are wearing overshirts, later taken off.)
For a closer look at the research (and a couple false leads), see the comments here:
The editing in the film is quite tricky & creative - for instance the Calgary Don't Ease Me In is edited with Toronto crowd footage; and you can also see that the DVD Hard to Handle includes footage that we now know is actually from the Lovelight. (This is likely to cover for lack of extra camera angles.) It's likely that many shots in New Speedway and Hard to Handle were actually taken from the footage of other partial songs in the set.
Don't Ease Me In is a good test case of different edits – in the film it’s dated 6/27/70, with Toronto’s CNE Stadium shown in a crowd shot. This is a misleading mixing of shots by the film producers, though. Here we have an earlier, alternate edit of Don’t Ease Me In without the Toronto footage (in fact it starts with a shot of the Calgary stadium) –
(It also ends with a bit of tuning from the electric set before New Speedway.)
We can also see that it doesn’t have the variety of camera angles that the later electric-set songs have; evidently the only cameramen at that point were down in front of the band.
Lemieux said that six Dead songs were filmed, and two didn’t make the DVD. He may be referring to Lovelight or Candyman; or maybe not. He might not have seen all the footage of the Dead. Perhaps he saw six complete Dead songs that had been synced & edited together, while others may be incomplete or not have sound. (There might not exist a complete film clip of that youtube Lovelight, for instance, which would be considered unusable by the filmmakers; and there could be other fragmentary pieces.)
The Dead do not own the film, just the rights. When researcher John Platt was interviewed by the Taping Compendium in the ‘90s, work for the Festival Express film was already underway, and he mentioned that they’d found about 90 hours and had just gotten as far as making a brief trailer reel (including Don’t Ease Me In, which he misidentified as being played in a train yard - perhaps it was lacking any crowd footage). Platt said, “The production company came to an agreement with the Grateful Dead whereby the Dead are allowing these people to use X amount of Dead footage in their finished documentary. The quid pro quo is that all the remaining Grateful Dead footage will be returned to the Dead." (Taping Compendium p.576)
This apparently didn’t happen. Lemieux gave no hint of it in his interview.
The stock-footage group Historic Films Archive has recently acquired all the Festival Express reels and digitized over 100 hours of footage from the tour – they’re the ones who put the Lovelight clips, and several new clips of the Band, up on youtube, kind of as teasers.
This is the same group, by the way, who also have the Dead’s 4/21/72 Beat Club performance.
They claim there will be an expanded release of Festival Express next year with more new footage. (For instance, they say they have the footage of Janis playing Bobby McGee on acoustic that Smeaton couldn’t find.)
It seems more reels have been discovered than the Festival Express producers had a decade ago. The Historic Films site has 132 Festival Express reels on their site; the catch is that the only ones you can watch online are the few non-music reels; any clips with performances you need a paid account to watch (at $100 per hour) -
But, if you click on the pictures at least it'll tell you what's in each reel, in great detail. The truly ardent researcher would go through all this to find all the Dead material…
This was a collaborative effort. Thanks to Arck, runonguinness & pairdoc for their research!
I’ve also posted a few news articles written about the Festival Express at the time – though these are mostly less informative about the actual concerts than we’d like:
http://deadsources.blogspot.com/2013/07/june-27-28-1970-festival-express-toronto.html (Toronto articles)
http://deadsources.blogspot.com/2013/07/junejuly-1970-festival-express.html (Rolling Stone article)
http://deadsources.blogspot.com/2013/07/junejuly-1970-festival-express-in-news.html (miscellaneous, non-Dead)
And for the insatiable, these are some earlier discussions of the Festival Express mysteries, mostly duplicated or superseded by this guide -
http://archive.org/post/323259/the-mystery-of-the-festival-express-what-do-we-have-from-the-tour (a valiant older attempt to put the info together)
http://archive.org/post/935393/new-festival-express-footage-and-amp-some-dating-notes (my initial attempts at this post)
Corrections & updates are welcome!