Bobbi and Nick Ercoline, the couple immortalized on the cover of the Woodstock soundtrack album, talk about the 50th anniversary of the festival
Seth Harrison/lohud, The Journal News/lohud
The photo is instantly recognizable: a young woman in big sunglasses clinging to a young man wrapped in a blanket, in a field in the middle of the masses who came to Woodstock in 1969.
The image became a cultural touchstone when it appeared on the cover of the “Woodstock” album.
The two young lovers who stood on that field wrapped in a muddy, colorful quilt are Nick and Bobbi Ercoline of Pine Bush.
“It was all wonderful because we were 20 and in love,” said Bobbi Ercoline, who was a school nurse in 1969; Nick worked for the housing authority.
The Ercolines will be back where it all took place, in Bethel, New York, in August. The couple will participate in the Bethel Woods Center For The Arts celebration of the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, Aug. 15-18
It was the summer of ’69
Advertised as the “Woodstock Music and Art Festival” and organized by Michael Lang and Artie Kornfield — posters for the event featured a dove of peace — the 1969 festival featured such famous artists of the time as the Grateful Dead, the Who, Janis Joplin, Joan Baez, Country Joe McDonald and Arlo Guthrie.
An estimated half a million people showed up for the concert in Bethel on a muggy, rainy, muddy three day weekend in August, including 20-year-olds Bobbi Kelly and her then-boyfriend Nick Ercoline, who attended for just one day.
Their photo, snapped by Life photographer Burk Uzzle, has become instantly recognizable to many.
Even with the swirling crowd around them, they appear alone in the field, concentrating only on each other.
The couple said they were totally unaware the photo was taken until a friend pointed them out on the album cover in 1970.
Married two years after Woodstock, they have stayed together through thick and thin and in fact according to Nick Ercoline “are joined at the hip.”
“We’ve been very fortunate,” he said. “We’ve had a happy life, a regular life, just like most people. But it’s been an amazing experience that we feel very fortunate to be a part of.”
When Bobbi Erconline considers the significance of that one photo — a question the couple has been asked innumerable times over the years — she’s quick to respond:
“When I think of Woodstock and I reflect back on those 50 years, I am just very grateful that it was an experience that I’ve been able to share with the man I’ve loved for 50 years,” she said.
Much has changed since that weekend of love on Yasgur’s Farm. The property, now home to the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, is on the National Register of Historic Places, its famous field is fenced in with weathered grey wood.
The Ercolines have changed, too.
Now short-haired, retired and grandparents, the couple was at the Winery of St. George in Mohegan Lake on May 8 to talk about the experience and greet fans, something they have done since they were discovered to be “the couple” on the “Woodstock” album.
John DeChiaro who co-owns the Winery with his brother Tom, reached out to the Ercolines several years ago to be a part of a Woodstock tribute.
“My feelings about Woodstock is that it may have been more impressive to those who were not there,” said John DeChiaro, who did not make the event, but whose sister did attend. “I know people who have expressed remorse and felt that it was a musical experience that we missed out on. It is now huge in the minds of a generation, in attendance or not.”
In August, the Ercolines will celebrate the 50th anniversary at the spot where it all happened: The couple will be part of the celebration marking the milestone, held at Bethel Woods, Aug. 15-18.
“We’re very honored to be invited,” said Bobbi Ercoline. “It’s a great honor,” added Nick. “Just come up and say hello, get a picture and have fun.”
The weekend’s events will include concerts with Arlo Guthrie, Santana, John Fogerty, the Doobie Brothers, and Ringo Star.
Bethel Woods Center for the Arts “We Are Golden”celebrates the 50th anniversary of Woodstock
John Meore, firstname.lastname@example.org
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