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May 22, 2013

Seeing Chip Monck in the clip from Woodstock I had in my last post reminded me of the fundamental role he played at the festival.  Please meet him.

Edward Herbert Beresford Monck was born in 1939.  While attending boarding school on athletic scholarships, he started dabbling with machinery.  He designed a potato picker that International Harvester bought.

In 1959 Monck started working for the Village Gate in New York City, lighting music and comedy acts.  He lived in the basement under the club.  One of the performers, some guy name of Bob Dylan, wrote “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” on Monck’s typewriter.

He landed other jobs lighting the Apollo Theater in Harlem and the Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals in Rhode Island.  He lit the Monterrey Pop Festival in 1967, which was then lit up by acts such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and the Who.  Concertmeister Bill Graham recruited Monck to help him renovate the Fillmore East and West venues.

When Monck was hired for Woodstock, he was paid $7000 for ten weeks work.  Much of his original plan had to be dumped when town officials of Wallkill, New York, reversed a decision to lease an industrial park for the festival.  The truncated schedule caused by relocation did not allow him time to build an adequate stage roof.  The lighting rented for it stayed under the stage floor.

Monck was hired as master of ceremonies at the last moment when promoter Mike Lang realized that no one had taken care of that particular detail.

Four months later, Monck helped plan the infamous Altamont Free Concert for the Rolling Stones in the Bay Area.  With 100% hindsight, most anyone would agree that hiring Hell’s Angels for security was not prudent.  A concertgoer was stabbed to death by an Angel as he rushed the stage.

Monck himself was the victim of violence.  He confronted an Angel stealing a carpet from the Stones stage set and lost some teeth to a pool cue.  Chip tracked down his attacker and traded a case of brandy for the carpet.

He went on to briefly host a rock and roll talk show, and to help out with the Muhammad Ali – George Foreman “Rumble in the Jungle” match and accompanying music festival in Zaire.

Today Monck lives near Melbourne, where he’s Director of Production on the “One Great Night on Earth” music festival, which will raise funds for victims of Australia’s various natural disasters.  He hopes to present a high-tech version of Woodstock with “a classic rock feel”.

  1. May 25, 2013 6:31 pm

    interesting stuff.. i would say more but i can’t really think of anyting else to say excpet. hows the house selling going?

    • May 27, 2013 9:33 am

      We’ve had more than 600 views but no inquiries. We expect it to take a long time, which is fine. We’re in no hurry to leave.

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