Chip Monck

Chip Monck
Chip Monck
Born Edward Herbert Beresford Monck
March 5, 1939 (1939-03-05) (age 72)
Wellesley, Massachusetts
Residence Fitzroy, Victoria
Nationality American
Other names Chip Monk, Chipmonck[1]
Occupation Lighting Designer, Staging Designer
Years active 1959 - current
Known for Woodstock Festival
Awards 2004 Parnelli Lifetime Achievement Award, 1979 Tony Award for Lighting Design

Chip Monck (born Edward Herbert Beresford Monck) is a Tony Award winning lighting designer, most famously serving as the Master of Ceremonies at the 1969 Woodstock Festival.


Personal History

Born on March 5, 1939 in Wellesley, Massachusetts), to a mother from Nutley, New Jersey and a father from Liverpool, he acquired the nickname "Chip" at a summer camp in Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire. [2] While Monck went to the South Kent School on Ice Hockey and Crew scholarships, he became more interested in welding and machinery, designing a potato harvester that he sold to McCormick. He began volunteering with a summer theater group at Wellesley College, learning the basics of theatrical lighting from Greg Harney. He began auditing classes at Harvard while working with the university's theater company.[2]

Early Career

Monck began working at the Greenwich Village nightclub The Village Gate in 1959, lighting comedians and Jazz and Folk artists, and living in the basement apartment under the club (Bob Dylan reportedly wrote A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall in Monck's apartment). He began an eight year long relationship with the Newport Folk Festival, and a nine year one with the Newport Jazz Festival, while continuing to work at the Gate. He became friends with Charles Altman of the Altman Lighting Co., repairing equipment and borrowing lighting instruments to improve the stage lighting of the Gate. He began lighting the stage of the Apollo Theater in Harlem.

In 1967, he lit the Monterey Pop Festival, which featured the first major American appearances by Jimi Hendrix and The Who, as well as the first major public performances of Janis Joplin. Monck's work can be seen in the D. A. Pennebaker film Monterey Pop. That year, he also did the Byrds at the Hollywood Bowl and his first Rolling Stones concert. The following year, he worked with Crosby, Stills and Nash in Europe, and began working with concert impresario Bill Graham, renovating the Fillmore theaters.


In 1969 he did the concert that would define his career and make his a public figure.

Monck was hired to plan and build the staging and lighting, ten weeks of work for which he was paid $7,000.[2] Much of his plan had to be scrapped when the promoters were not allowed to use original location in Wallkill, New York. The stage roof that was constructed in the shorter time available was not able to support the lighting that had been rented, which wound up sitting unused underneath the stage. The only light on the stage was from spotlights.

He was drafted just before the concert started as the master of ceremonies when Michael Lang noticed that they had forgotten to hire one. He can be heard (and seen) in recordings of Woodstock making the stage announcements, including requests to "stay off the towers" and the warning about the "brown acid".[3]

The warning that I’ve received, you might take it with however many grains of salt you wish, that the brown acid that is circulating around is not specifically too good. It is suggested that you stay away from that. But it’s your own trip, be my guest. But please be advised that there’s a warning, okay?

Later Career

Four months after Woodstock, Monck and Lang planned the Altamont Free Concert for the Rolling Stones, which also had to move from the original planned location with unfortunate results.

In 1974, Monck was the host of "Speakeasy," a short-lived rock and roll talk show that featured mostly chat and some live performances by such acts as Tom Waits, Frank Zappa and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Monck's persona was well-known enough to be parodied as "Chick Monk" on SCTV by Tony Rosato as a marriage councilor employing strobe lights and a fog machine.[4]

Also in 1974, he provided production services for the Muhammad Ali/George Foreman boxing match The Rumble in the Jungle, and the associated three day music festival Zaire 74, which featured performances by James Brown, Celia Cruz and the Fania All-Stars, B.B. King, Miriam Makeba, The Spinners, Bill Withers, and Manu Dibango. Monck's work can be seen in the films Soul Power and When We Were Kings.

As of 2011, Monck resides in the Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy, Australia[3] concentrating on corporate and retail lighting.[2] He was the lighting designer for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles,[5] as well as consulting on the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.

In 2011, he has a new rock vintage project. He is the Director of Production of the One Great Night On Earth Festival. This event will raise funds to help regional Australians whose lives and livelihoods have been devastated by environmental disaster.


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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