300 divers and snorkelers rock on at Florida Keys Underwater Music Fest

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Divers use their 'water guitars' to play along during the Underwater Music Fest. (Bill Keogh/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO)

Off Big Pine Key, Florida Keys — About 300 divers and snorkelers listened to music beneath the sea in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, while exploring a portion of continental United States’ only living contiguous coral barrier reef.

The quirky underwater concert was staged by Keys radio station WWUS at Looe Key Reef, about six miles south off Big Pine Key, and featured music broadcast underwater via speakers suspended beneath boats positioned above the reef.

The commercial-free concert’s playlist included ocean-themed songs such as Jimmy Buffett’s “Fins,” the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine,” and the themes from “The Little Mermaid” and television’s classic “Gilligan’s Island.”

“Music underwater has a real ethereal feel to it,” said festival founder Bill Becker. “You don’t just hear it through your ears, you hear it through your whole body — through your jawbone, through your skull.”

Some divers were costumed to spoof contestants and judges from popular television reality shows. Some even pretended to play instruments like a trom-bonefish and clambourine sculpted by Florida Keys artist August Powers.

According to one festival participant, humans weren’t the only ones that seemed to enjoy the underwater concert.

“I think the fish liked the music,” said 7-year-old snorkeler Jaden Gill of Orlando. “It sounded like a band is playing.”

As well as being an offbeat experience for divers and snorkelers, the festival carried a serious message of reef preservation. The broadcast incorporated diver awareness announcements emphasizing ways to enjoy the reef while minimizing impacts on the underwater environment.

The Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce was also instrumental in producing the 28th version of the aquatic event.

Source: Florida Keys Newsroom

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