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Revival 69: The Concert that Rocked the World

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In 1969, there were three music festivals that changed the world. The one you probably couldn’t name took place in Toronto, Sept 13, one month after Woodstock, a couple of months before Altamont. The Rock & Roll Revival brought together the progenitors of pop: Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bo Diddley, Gene Vincent… and ticket sales were so slow they almost cancelled. The Doors were brought in to headline just weeks after Jim Morrison spent a night in a Florida jail cell for exposing himself on stage. Kim Fowley and Rodney Bingenheimer were emcees. And still the tickets didn’t move. Out of desperation, with their event just hours from disaster, the promoters put in a call to England, to Apple, to John Lennon… And he said… Yes.

The “second most important event in rock & roll history,” would be Lennon’s first appearance without the Beatles. Instead, he’d be backed by the Plastic Ono Band, comprising Yoko, Eric Clapton, Klaus Voorman and Alan White. His involvement was so last minute that disc jockeys asked to promote the gig didn’t give it any credence. Amongst the crowd it was either a rumour or a surprise. But the show wasn’t all about John and Yoko. Jerry Lee Lewis gave a storming set. Little Richard cut up the crowd. And a lesser known singer named Alice Cooper reportedly bit the head off a live chicken in a flurry of feathers and lies.

Incorporating live performance footage shot by the legendary DA Pennebaker, Revival 69: The Concert that Rocked the World details the incredible behind-the-scenes story, with testimony from promoter John Berry, artists and audience members (Geddy Lee!)


Ron Chapman


John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Alice Cooper, Robby Krieger, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Bo Diddley, The Doors

Country of Origin






99 min

Book Tickets

Saturday January 28

5:40 pm
VIFF Centre - Studio Theatre
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Executive Producer

D A Pennebaker, Chris Hegedus, Frazer Pennebaker, Kirk D’Amico, Mark Slone, Henry Less


Trish Dolman, Sally Blake, Ron Chapman


Phyllis Ellis


Henry Less, Wes Legge


Eugene Weis

Original Music

Pierre-Adrien Théo, Rich Pell

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