Divers and beach lovers celebrate music and ecology at Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival

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Now in its 29th year, hundreds of aquatic aficionados show up to dive and rock out under the waves at this submerged songfest at Looe Key Reef, an area of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary approximately six miles south of Big Pine Key. Staged by a local radio station, music is broadcast into the ocean from Lubell Laboratory speakers suspended beneath boats. With “Salute to the Rolling Stone Crabs” as the theme, divers dressed in the likes of “Mick Jawfish” and “Keith Pilchard” dip under the water to perform hits including “HonkyConch Woman” and other marine melodies such as the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine.” There is no associated dive-fee for the Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival, held annually in July.

Staged by Keys radio station WWUS 104.1 FM, the unique festival typically draws several hundred divers and snorkelers each year to enjoy the sound of music in the ocean realm.

While many dive enthusiasts are drawn by the undersea fun, the concert also promotes the serious cause of preserving the Keys’ unique coral reef ecosystem. The broadcast incorporates diver awareness announcements emphasizing ways to enjoy the reef while minimizing environmental impacts.

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