Kai-Kai Farm In Indiantown Launches Kai's Music Garden, Featuring Recording Artists From Around The Country
The rows of vegetables run long. The bamboo trees stand tall. The rubbly paths extend far and wide, connecting simple structures spread across the 40-acre property known as Kai-Kai Farm.
Kai-Kai Farm, a busy bearer of beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and 80 other varieties of grown-in-the-ground goodness, makes its home in the heartland of western Martin County. Its colorful sign sits on the side of a narrow, two-lane road bordered by picturesque pastures and preserves.
“It’s nice out here, right?” asks Carl Frost, the CEO of the outdoor operation, emerging from a work truck wearing a sun hat and rubber boots. “No hustle and bustle. Just calm and peaceful.”
With the exception of the rumble of a tractor or the whir of a salad spinner, the air—absent of the ever-present traffic din in more populous parts of the county—remains quiet. But that is about to change, as Kai-Kai Farm will welcome a wave of noisemaking musicians to its new venue: Kai’s Music Garden.
“It’s all new. We don’t know quite yet how the public will respond to our farm.”
- Carl Frost
“This is built for concerts from the ground up,” Frost says of the 32-foot-wide, 24-foot-deep, 18-foot-high mobile stage acquired to attract such acts as Tim Reynolds, the Dave Matthews Band’s lead guitarist who played on the hulking hydraulic rig March 9, and Edwin McCain, who charted Billboard’s Hot 100 at No. 5 with the release of “I’ll Be” and plays April 9. “It’s like what you’d have at a big location,” he says.
The sound of music continues this month with three more shows expected to draw hundreds of guests to groove on the grounds.
“It’s all new,” Frost says. “We don’t know quite yet how the public will respond to our farm.”
He says many of those who live in the suburbs think the farm is far from home—15 miles separate it from Osceola Street and Colorado Avenue.
Kai’s Music Garden has been a dream of Frost’s since the farm’s first concert two years ago featuring Flint Blade, a Fort Lauderdale performer known for Chapman Stick improvisation.
“It was fun,” Frost says. “I still have a picture of Flint playing in the field on the hay wagon.”
“We’re really serious about this. We’re bound and determined to do farm-to-table. The Florida agritourism law—that changed everything.”
- Carl Frost
The hay wagon has been replaced. The field is under construction. Plans call for a 3,000-capacity paved promenade with concession stands serving farm-to-table fare. Soon, concerts combined with chef-prepared, sit-down dinners will be offered. On the to-do list: A 2,000-square-foot commercial kitchen with a café that seats up to 35.
“We’re really serious about this,” Frost says. “We’re bound and determined to do farm-to-table. The Florida agritourism law—that changed everything.”
The state statute, enacted in 2013, enabled farms, forests and ranches to pursue ancillary activities with the goal of giving the public the ability to experience rural areas, whether for educational, entertainment or recreational purposes. Prior to the passage of the law, county government had jurisdiction over such proposals, which were often struck down.
“By anybody’s standards, we’re off to an impressive, fast-paced start at Kai’s Music Garden,” says promoter Ron Hart. “What I accomplished in a year and a half at Terra Fermata, I accomplished in a month and a half at Kai’s Music Garden.”
Hart used to own the tropically eclectic bar famous for having live music seven days a week. Soon after he sold it, he heard about Kai’s Music Garden and its need for someone to book talent. He met with Frost in January.
“We had a lot in common,” Hart says. “I was a farmer for the first half of my career.”
His background in landscape design led him to run a 22.5-acre horticulture grove in Palm City.
“I didn’t grow vegetable, but I grew plants—ornamentals,” Hart says.
“It’s going to be exciting. I like music. I like people. So I guess I will be in my element.”
- Diane Cordeau
Coincidentally, Frost owned a recording studio in Nashville, Tennessee, and contracted with several companies, including The King Biscuit Flower Hour, to compile concert archives from some of the top groups in rock ‘n’ roll history. He later graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in horticulture.
“I could tell early on that he had a long-term vision,” Hart says. “It’s not a nightclub thing. It’s not a downtown urban thing. It’s a little bit of a challenge to convince people that it is a place they should go, but once people go and see how easy the drive is, it’ll be a breeze. It’s destined to become a force in the regional music scene.”
Diane Cordeau, Kai-Kai Farm’s grower and Frost’s wife, agrees.
“It’s going to be exciting,” Cordeau says. “I like music. I like people. So I guess I will be in my element.”
Her background includes a 25-year stint as a flight attendant for Air Canada, exclusively in the first-class cabin.
“I’ll make everyone feel comfortable,” Cordeau says. “Many people will come here and say, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s really a farm.’ You just never know what to expect.”
Edwin McCain, with special guest Abby Owens
Called the “great American romantic,” McCain earned the title by penning a pair of love songs—“I’ll Be” and “I Could Not Ask for More”—covered by everyone from “American Idol” and “The Voice” contestants to Justin Bieber. The South Carolina storyteller maintains a year-round touring schedule that crisscrosses the country and puts on more than 100 shows. “I can guarantee you that if you went to see Edwin McCain, you would come out saying, ‘I love Edwin McCain,’” promoter Ron Hart says. “He’s just so endearing and so natural onstage.” Abby Owens, who hails from Indiantown, is an up-and-comer whose songs blend blues and country with a little bit of a bite. Owens’ icon and idol was Gainesville native Tom Petty.
7 p.m. to 10 p.m. April 11; $28 to $33
Forlorn Strangers, with special guests The Novel Ideas and Summer Gill
A national touring act with Appalachian-style roots, Forlorn Strangers opens for folk festivals around the United States and stakes a convincing claim to the bluegrass beat. Rolling Stone magazine described the band as “a mix of harmony-heavy Americana and Laurel Canyon-inspired folk-pop.” The Novel Ideas comprise a quartet of friends from Massachusetts who harmonize about love and loss. Summer Gill showed signs of becoming a powerhouse performer at age 4 and at 7 began taking piano lessons. Gill’s debut EP “Stormy Weather” came out in 2016, pulling from alternative-pop influences.
7 p.m. to 10 p.m. April 14; $12 to $16
The Big Pine Band, with special guests the Prestage Brothers and Deal James
All three local products, the lineup of performers will appeal to motorcycle enthusiasts from Palm Beach to St. Lucie counties looking to park their rides to take in some jams. “We’re going to target the Harley clan,” Hart says. “Big Pine has a fan base of bikers.” As for the Prestage Brothers, led by Ben Prestage, Hart says, “He’s a big draw. His act is down-and-dirty blues.” Deal James has warmed up the stage for Donavon Frankenreiter, JJ Grey & Mofro and the Pat Travers Band.
3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. April 15; $5
Strung Like A Horse, with special guests The String Assassins and Johnny Debt
“Strung Like A Horse is one of my all-time favorite bands,” Hart says. “Their genre is noteworthy because it’s a crazy genre. I don’t know that it really is a genre.” The band considers its music to be a blend of garage, gypsy and punk played on acoustic guitars, banjos, fiddles and a stand-up bass. The String Assassins are on the bill at next month’s SunFest. On Johnny Debt: “Quirky comes to mind,” Hart says. “Porch music comes to mind. Americana comes to mind. He’s awesome.”
7 p.m. to 10 p.m. April 28; $12 to $16
Strung Like A Horse, with special guests Uproot Hootenanny and Sam Meador
The Irish-tinged soul of Uproot Hootenanny is soaked in whiskey rock, “whether it’s just one shot or the entire bottle,” claims the band’s website. Sam Meador, a percussive guitarist, adds artistry to every gig.
5 p.m. to 9 p.m. April 29; $12 to $16