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It was 50 years ago this week that Woodstock stopped the Vietnam War and ushered in a new era of peace, love and understanding.

Sorry, that should read when 400,000 hippies sat in the mud sharing one lavatory per 800 people like a bunch of huge overgrown toddlers staging a dirty protest.

They turned their backs on conventional society, but when it turned out that they couldn’t even feed themselves, the local Jewish community centre prepared 30,000 sandwiches, which were handed out by local nuns.

Despite the festivalgoers railing against authority, more than 300 off-duty policemen were drafted in to keep order, along with several hundred state troopers and personnel from a nearby airport base to airlift the precious performers.

One hopes they were being paid more than the onsite workers, who were on a miserable $1.60 an hour minimum wage compared to, say, Santana, who were getting $2,000 an hour. But at least none of them were among the three deaths that occurred, including a man run over in his sleeping bag by a tractor driver and an 18-year-old Marine who had survived Vietnam but overdosed on some of the nasty drugs circulating, many laced with rat poison.

Like love bites and Maoism, unwashed and dishevelled and dazed and confused can be a charming look on youngsters; for those over 30, it can look like you came off your meds too quickly.

- Julie Burchill, British journalist and author

As Jon Snow [Channel 4 News presenter] famously observed of a Brexit rally, you’ve “never seen so many white people in one place”.

Clever Joni Mitchell [Canadian singer] wasn’t among them, despite having been one of only three female acts booked. Put off by the mud and the fear that she wouldn’t make it back to Manhattan in time to promote herself on a prime-time chat show, she sensibly gave it a miss and wrote Woodstock in her manager’s apartment instead.

Not so much “We’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden” as “We’ve got to get ourselves back to the Green Room”.

I myself have swerved as many festivals as humanly possible. The last time I attended one as a punter was when I was sent to the Reading Festival by the New Musical Express, as a punishment for being cheeky to my elders and wetters in the office.

I was no sooner inside than one of my vintage stilettos sank into the mud and was totally ruined. Taking this as “a sign”, I took the train back to London and made the entire review up. How I hugged myself when a credulous colleague told me that my write-up was so atmospheric he could smell the crowd! So could I, the dirty beggars, and I’d only been there for 10 minutes.

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As I’m not by any means high-maintenance, I think the real reason I loathe festivals is that they’re phoney. That seems an odd word to use about sleeping in a field with a load of strangers but, as Oscar, said: “Being natural is the biggest pose of all.”

Like love bites and Maoism, unwashed and dishevelled and dazed and confused can be a charming look on youngsters; for those over 30, it can look like you came off your meds too quickly.

I’ve noticed that Remainers now like to drag Brexit into totally unconnected events — pasties, weather, Jade Goody — so I’d like to observe that in Woodstock I genuinely see a metaphor for the EU.

A bunch of brainwashed zombies who see themselves as superior beings convinced themselves that they’re making the world a more civilised place when they actually couldn’t survive a long weekend without real people giving them sustenance and security.

Poor Mr Yasgur, the farmer who facilitated this foolishness, was subsequently sued for a great deal of money by his neighbours over damage caused by the festival. But the damage to his own property was far worse, and a year later he was awarded a $50,000 settlement for the near-destruction of his dairy farm.

Let this be a warning to us that good fences make good neighbours — and that Utopian enterprises always end up in vulgar wrangles over dirty money.

— The Telegraph Group Limited, London 2019

Julie Burchill is a journalist and author