Florida Keys Underwater Music Festival

‘Making Waves’ for Reef Protection July 13

May 2024 News, Feature Keys Media Web Exclusive

The Lower Florida Keys’ ocean realm is to become a one-of-a-kind concert venue Saturday, July 13, when divers and snorkelers immerse themselves in a sub-sea musical adventure that promotes environmentally responsible diving and coral reef preservation.

The 40th annual Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival takes place at Looe Key Reef, an area of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary approximately 6 miles south of Big Pine Key. The sanctuary protects the waters surrounding the entire Florida Keys island chain, including the continental United States’ only coral barrier reef.

The Underwater Music Festival is to be staged from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday by the Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce and Keys radio station US1 104.1 FM. While swimming among Looe Key’s vivid marine life, participants can listen to music broadcast by the station and piped underwater via speakers suspended beneath boats above the reef.

The playlist typically features marine melodies ranging from Jimmy Buffett’s “A Pirate Looks at 40” and “Fins” to the Beatles’ “Octopus’s Garden” and the theme from “The Little Mermaid” film.

Those planning to submerge themselves in the festival can learn about reef restoration Friday, July 12, during a free 6-8 p.m. welcome gathering at Mote Marine Laboratory’s Elizabeth Moore International Center for Coral Reef Research & Restoration, 24244 Overseas Highway on Summerland Key. Representatives will be on hand to lead tours of the facility and showcase Mote’s groundbreaking coral cultivation and restoration efforts.

During Saturday’s aquatic experience, the music is to be interspersed with diver awareness messages about ways to minimize environmental impacts on the world’s reefs, whose rich biodiversity has led them to be called the rainforests of the sea.

As well as colorful reef fish and other marine life, divers and snorkelers might even spot “mermaids” and other costumed characters beneath the waves - some adding to the concert component by “playing” musical instruments during an underwater jam session.

Ocean enthusiasts interested in participating in the unique experience can reserve space on boats run by Lower Keys dive operators or launch their own boats from public ramps and marinas in the area.

Event information: lowerkeyschamber.com/chamber-events/
Lower Keys visitor information: fla-keys.com/lowerkeys or 1-800-872-3722
Florida Keys diving information: fla-keys.com/diving
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