FLORIDA KEYS (CelebrityAccess) The annual 35th Underwater Music Festival, which truly is underwater, submerges later today and runs through the weekend in the Florida Keys.
The intimate event takes place about six miles south of Big Pine Key, one of the islands that make up the archipelago and is motivated to bring attention to conservation. The event, which is actually broadcast underwater using speakers contributed by Lubell Labs, kicks off today with a reception at the Looe Key Reef Resort’s Tiki Bar on Ramrod Key.
Tomorrow, audience members are encouraged to “put on your favorite costume and your gear” to dive or snorkel on the reef. Local dive shops will host costume parties on their vessels, and the event attracts photographers and videographers from across the world.
The performers actually dive with guitars, horns, drums and other instruments and the event draws dozens of scuba divers. New instruments include the “bass-oon,” the “obloe-fish” (a cross between an oboe and a blowfish), the “trombonefish” and the “manta-lin.”
“Thirty-five years ago a few Keys locals sat down and wanted to figure out a way to bring awareness to our coral reefs that would preserve them and rebuild them and restore them in any way,” Dave Turner, executive director of the Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce, told Smithsonian Magazine. “They came up with this idea to play music underwater and invited divers and snorkelers to listen while also enjoying the local sea life.
“The preservation of the reef is our main purpose,” Turner added. “[To avoid any further damage], the festival takes place in a nearby sandy area so that the musicians don’t disturb the coral when they’re performing.”
Although making music underwater sounds farfetched, Turner said it is not.
“The music is obviously not as clear as when you’re sitting in a room with a stereo, but you can still hear it and understand the lyrics and music,” he told the magazine. “If you were to go underwater, you would recognize the song and it would sound the same, it just has a little different tone to it. Plus, sound travels faster and farther underwater.”