BY Gabi Garrett
The Frog Pond at Blue Moon Farm hosts its Sunday Social music series through April 22.
Photo | Michelle Stancil
Here is a riddle: What do an Alabama state judge, a dishwasher and a musician have in common?
They are all sitting in the Frog Pond.
The Frog Pond, in its eighth year, is a musician-driven private, outdoor concert hub on Cathe Steele’s Blue Moon farm, serves as an escape from the everyday world and allows people who may never otherwise cross paths to meet and become friends.
“People are just people here, we don’t care about titles. In fact, people from different worlds have fallen in love here. People have seen each other after 50 years have gone by. It’s a crazy thing,” Steele said.
Frog Pond is a pro member of the Folk Alliance International and hosts some of the country’s best singers and songwriters on the little “front porch,” which is actually an outdoor stage under a 200-year-old cedar tree. All of the proceeds collected go directly to the musicians.
Steele is now retired but previously managed the entertainment at Pirates Cove in Josephine, Alabama, and helped jump-start the Flora-Bama in its early days. In her relaxed, retired state, Steele got the bug to continue her entertainment path and bring musicians and serious listeners together in a casual, yet respectful, environment — oh, and add a little bit of magic, too.
“The Frog Pond is really a metaphor for life. We are all in the Frog Pond together. When I make a move, it affects you. When she takes a breath it affects you. Just like in life, the musicians are feeling the ripples in the pond and playing off each other during our afternoons here,” Steele explained.
Musicians view Frog Pond as a haven in which to play original music and collaborate with an audience of relaxed locals and travelers, who sip on a variety of bring-your-own beverages such as beer, wine, kombucha and water. Each participant also enjoys a dish from the communal potluck while listening to the graceful tunes of from two to five musicians who often play together, some for the first time.
And in an added twist to our riddle, which is Frog Pond, no one speaks during the performances. They’re in the listening zone. Steele believes this listening zone concept is imperative, yet frequently missing, in our world.
“The listening zone is something we should implement in the real world. So many issues plaguing our day-to-day lives could be solved if we listened to each other more,” Steele expanded.
You can meander away from the listening zone, but while in it you are to be quiet and enjoy the musical happenings on stage. If you start to chat loudly with your neighbor, you may get hit by one of the “HUSH Y’ALL” signs floating around the crowd.
Upon your stroll away from the listening zone, other creative treats await you, such as large chalk to bring out your inner child and the potluck zones. In Steele’s house, you’ll find the main dishes. In another little cove, you’ll find the sweet shack, where all the delightful desserts live. You will also find a coffee and tea nook.
On Blue Moon farm, there are a few cabins — for example, the writer’s cabin is a delightful one-bedroom escape for writers attempting to complete their body of work, or song. The other cabins are used for musicians, guests and as the green room. Frog Pond has its own recording studio, which you will also discover in the green room, an added reason why the listening zone’s quiet is imperative.
As you may have gleaned, these concerts, which occur every Sunday during the spring starting at 2 p.m. and concluding around sundown, are intimate and unique. In fact, you must be on the guest list to attend. However, the secret society of escape is available to most fun-loving humans by contacting Cathe through the Frog Pond’s website: www.thefrogpondatbluemoonfarm.com/contact/.