Hundreds of scuba divers and snorkelers attended an underwater concert advocating for the protection of coral reefs in the Florida Keys on Saturday.
The Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival, which also featured eco-scuba diving, was held at Looe Key Reef, an area of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary located about 6 miles (10 kilometers) south of Big Pine Key.
Established in 1990, the sanctuary protects 3,800 square miles (9,800 square kilometers) of water, including the barrier reef that parallels the 125-mile-long chain of islands (201 kilometers).
Participants swam among Looe Key’s colorful marine life and coral formations while listening to aquatic-themed music broadcast on a local radio station. The music was transmitted under the sea through waterproof speakers suspended below the boats on the reef.
The ocean playlist included “Yellow Submarine” by the Beatles, “Fins” by Jimmy Buffett and the theme of “The Little Mermaid”.
The tunes were interspersed with messages raising awareness for divers on ways to minimize environmental impacts on the world’s coral reefs, whose rich biodiversity has led them to be called the rain forests of the sea.
Although the main purpose of the festival was to promote the conservation of the reefsalso provided a unique underwater experience. “Mermaids” and other costumed characters added unique visual elements to the listening offerings in part of the only living coral reef in the continental United States.
The four-hour music event was hosted by local radio station 104.1 FM and the Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce.