Friday, July 3, 2015

Taking music underground — or rather underwater: The Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival

            Diving down to enjoy the only living coral barrier reef in the continental United States is reason enough to visit the Florida Keys, but on July 11, 2015, you can do it to music.
            From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Looe Key Reef, an area of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary approximately six miles south of Big Pine Key, the Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival will take place. Staged by Keys radio station WWUS 104.1 FM, music will be piped underwater via Lubell Laboratory speakers suspended beneath boats above the reef. Swimming among colorful tropical fish and coral formations, participants can sway to a sea-focused playlist that typically includes humpback whale songs and melodies like the Beatles' “Yellow Submarine” and Jimmy Buffett's “Fins.”
            The festival began to encourage coral reef protection and environmentally responsible diving. Now in its 31st year, it typically draws several hundred divers and snorkelers annually to enjoy the sound of music along the Keys' reef — the third largest in the world.
            Can’t quite get your mind around this? Check out the video.
Those planning to submerge themselves in the festival can stop by Looe Key Reef Resort, 27340 Overseas Highway on Ramrod Key, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Friday, July 10, for a free dive clinic that consists of buoyancy tests and equipment checks. All divers and snorkelers participating in are encouraged to wear costumes and compete for prizes such as “best dressed.” Some might even pretend to play “underwater instruments” sculpted by Lower Keys artist August Powers, whose creations blend elements of oceanic creatures and whimsical musical instruments.

For more information on the festival or diving the Lower Keys, visit For Lower Keys visitor information, visit or call (305) 872-2411.

Cheré Coen is an award-winning travel writer specializing in the Deep South. She is the author of "Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History," "Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana" and "Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana" and co-author of "Magic's in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets." She also writes Louisiana romances under Cherie Claire, including "A Cajun Dream" and "The Letter." Write her at

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