17 May 2022
LOOE KEY, Florida Keys — Divers and snorkelers can promote reef protection and explore the continental United States’ only living coral barrier reef during a one-of-a-kind underwater concert scheduled Saturday, July 9.
The 38th 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 festival was created to introduce participants to the wonders of the coral reef that parallels the Keys island chain while encouraging its protection and environmentally responsible diving.
Music broadcast by local radio station US1 104.1 FM is piped underwater via speakers suspended beneath boats above Looe Key Reef, and several hundred underwater enthusiasts typically submerge to enjoy the ethereal undersea melodies.  
Those planning to immerse themselves in the festival can learn about groundbreaking Florida Keys reef restoration efforts Friday, July 8, 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.
The facility’s staff members are to be on hand Friday to offer tours and share information about Mote’s extraordinary coral cultivation and restoration efforts.
The subsea concert is set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Swimming among colorful tropical fish and coral formations, participants can sway to a sea-focused playlist that typically includes humpback whale songs and tunes like the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” and Jimmy Buffett’s “Fins.”
The “only in the Keys” listening experience is paired with diver awareness announcements that emphasize ways to enjoy the reef while minimizing environmental impacts.
In addition to vivid reef fish and marine life, divers and snorkelers might spot “mermaids” and their costumed cohorts — including some pretending to play underwater musical instruments — during their underwater adventure.
Those interested in participating 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
Lower Keys visitor information: fla-keys.com/lowerkeys or 305-872-2411
Lower Keys dive and snorkel information: fla-keys.com/lower-keys/diving/
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