Woodstock legend to rock Melbourne Documentary Film Festival

Chip Monck

The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival will play host to one of the most memorable figures of Woodstock ‘69 in the lead-up to the iconic festival’s fiftieth anniversary. Lighting designer and M.C. Chip Monck is perhaps best known for his role in one of the most successful documentaries of all time – Woodstock, where he made the famous announcement warning festival-goers that “the brown acid is not specifically too good”. From his new home in Frankston, Monck quips, “I always make the joke that I was selling the blue acid, so I had to make that announcement.”.

Director of the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival, Lyndon Stone, is thrilled to welcome Monck to the festival. “It’s a wonderful piece of serendipity that we’re able to celebrate a genuine Woodstock icon on the eve of the anniversary”, he says. Monck will appear on July 24th for a Q&A screening of Woodstock At Fifty: A Venue For The End Of The World.

Monck is the subject of this new documentary, the latest project from Melbourne director Aidan Prewett. The film features fresh interviews with Woodstock performers & crew, plus unseen 8mm footage from the festival. Prewett has also inked a deal with Crows Nest/Political Animal to publish a book of the same title in August. Woodstock At Fifty promises to pull back the curtain on behind-the-scene moments from that fabled long weekend in August 1969.

The film itself is a special new cut of the 2016 feature documentary A Venue For The End Of The World. The film’s producers have pared back the film to allow it to focus on the Woodstock festival, and have included a plethora of new Woodstock material. Interviews with Michael Shrieve (Santana), Joe McDonald (Country Joe & the Fish), D.A. Pennebaker (Monterey Pop), Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull) and Dick Cavett are highlights. The original film was picked up by U.S. distributor BrinkVision and is currently stocked by retail giants Target, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, and Family Video.

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The Q&A with Monck is sure to feature some astonishing backstage stories. From his work on the Woodstock, Altamont and Monterey Pop festivals, to five years as head of production for the Rolling Stones, to his Tony Award nomination for the Rocky Horror Picture Show – Monck has no shortage of compelling anecdotes.

Some examples: Bob Dylan borrowing Monck’s typewriter to compose A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall. A packed stadium of Rolling Stones fans being accidentally tear-gassed. Exploding an entire trolley of cream pies in a prank for Mick Jagger on his birthday. Ordering the first hundred-thousand Woodstock attendees to move back ten paces in order to see the stage.

Monck has worked with a multitude of music icons; Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, John Lennon. He’s also delved into the world of politics; both Dr Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy worked with Monck to design the look of their stages.

Woodstock At Fifty director Aidan Prewett first contacted Monck during the film’s pre-producton in 2012. The pair hit it off immediately. “We spent three days with Chip, recording hours of interview footage that we knew wouldn’t fit in the documentary. But these were conversations I just couldn’t bear to shorten. With Chip and the other Woodstock artists, we recorded enough stories to fill a book. Which is our next step!”

Woodstock At Fifty: A Venue For The End Of The World screens at the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival, Cinema Nova, July 24 at 6:15pm to be followed by a Q&A with Chip Monck.

You can discover more about the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival here and check out the full program here

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