“I talk to trees to get answers. They give it to you cold turkey,” said Joan Baez.

The folk singer responds to inquiries about spirituality, competing against Joni Mitchell, and running around Burning Man in her underwear as a documentary about her life is published.

Throughout the many occasions I’ve met you backstage after shows, I’ve been impressed by how kind, affable, and transparent you are with your supporters. Do you have any memorable encounters with fans that stand out as particularly poignant, hilarious, or odd? Kevin Fillis

Yes, I definitely do. I’ll need to consider it for a whole sixty years, so you’ll have to wait. I recall how subdued the British audiences appeared to be. I yelled something terrible one night in Leeds, like, “Is everybody out there alive?” They were unable to articulate themselves. I believe I just wanted to be impolite because I had no idea where to go next.

Has a lack of confidence ever affected your professional life? To The Island

My self-assurance in speaking has never wavered. I am able to say so because I am responsible for its upkeep and delivery rather than its invention. Like everybody else, I believe that during times when my career was completely off course, I lost confidence and felt lost.

“Joanie Baez, she’s going to be a cartoonist,” was written in my junior high school yearbook. I drew and sold caricatures of Jimmy Dean, my school friends, and the opera types my mother enjoyed, such as Swedish opera singer Jussi Bj√∂rling, for $5. I don’t think I ever considered, “I better start doing cartoons or selling bathing suits,” even though I had other options. It was believed that she would sing.

What advice would you give your younger self if you could? Abby Dormer

Go easy on yourself. Have a rest. Unwind a bit.


What do you consider to be the hippy generation’s greatest achievement or mistake, Joan? Kieran123

I was thinking about Burning Man the other day. Everybody laughs at it. The outsiders, not all of them. It’s a neighborhood. It is untouchable for that. You do bring something to present to someone else when you get there. For many lost individuals, the hippy movement served as a kind of community. I believe the good things outweighed the failures. There was no writer who could have imagined what we were going through at the time.

There is nothing like Burning Man that I have ever seen. I went maybe ten or twelve years ago with a few pals. You own the stuff that is stiff. You decide it won’t work for you because it’s boiling outside and you need to carry your own water. Everyone is chasing the water truck when you arrive. I rushed around without clothes on and covered my head so no one could tell who it was. It worked wonderfully for me. Baez’s 2008 performance at Glastonbury was equally amazing. The sensation is the same, particularly in muddy conditions. The tent next to them needs everyone’s kindness. I had three meals a day and a cozy place to stay even at Woodstock.

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