Music News

Get your tickets for a doc on the forgotten Canadian festivals that ended up rocking the world

It’s the last weekend before Christmas and all through the province, people are feeling overwhelmed and stressed and tired and myriad other emotions. It’s time for a break.

Why not buy a ticket to see a movie documenting a one-day music festival from right here in Toronto, taped 43 years ago, an event so incredible it’s still being mythologized? 

And, for two nights, you can hear about it from the director himself, interviewed by Alan Cross. 

Revival 69: The Concert that Rocked the World” is a behind-the-scenes perspective on the Toronto Rock & Roll Revival, from the University of Toronto’s Varsity Stadium, filled to 20,000-seat capacity. 

The movie shows how “against all odds, a life-changing concert came together. A story of passion and perseverance, this never-before documented story reveals a series of colourful characters, murky details and broken promises, culminating in John Brower, a young renegade promoter, putting his life on the line (literally) in order to achieve his goal,” according to a press release. 

Tickets just weren’t selling but Brower refused to give up. Instead, he called in a favour and asked John Lennon to join the concert. 

If that weren’t enough star power, the festival also featured Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bo Diddley, Gene Vincent, The Doors, Alice Cooper, and the Plastic Ono Band — Lennon’s first appearance without the Beatles but, instead, with Eric Clapton, Klaus Voormann, Alan White and Yoko Ono. 

The documentary blends interview footage taped in 2021 in LA, Toronto, Phoenix, New York, London and Munich with previously unreleased concert and backstage footage from the event, filmed by D.A. Pennebaker. Interviews include Alice Cooper, Geddy Lee, John Brower, Robby Kreiger and Klaus Voormann. 

The film opens in theatres across Canada on December 16; Alan Cross will be leading interviews and Q&As with director Ron Chapman, Geddy Lee, Robby Kreiger and John Bower on December 17 at Toronto’s Hot Docs Cinema. Ticket information can be found here

Amber Healy

I write about music policy and lawsuits because they're endlessly fascinating.

Amber Healy has 521 posts and counting. See all posts by Amber Healy

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