‘BEATLES’ TO ROCK FLORIDA KEYS REEF DURING 25TH ANNUAL UNDERWATER MUSIC FESTIVAL
LOOE KEY, Florida Keys — Forty years after the release of their “Yellow Submarine” album, the Beatles are embarking on another underwater adventure. Divers costumed as the iconic quartet are to star in the 25th annual Underwater Music Festival set for Saturday, July 11, in the waters off the Lower Florida Keys.
Divers portraying “Ringo Starfish,” “John Lemon-shark,” “Paul McCarpney” and “George Herringson” are to rock the waters of the continental United States’ only living coral barrier reef during the offbeat underwater event, which typically draws as many as 600 divers and snorkelers each year.
The submerged songfest is set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Looe Key Reef, an area of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary south of Big Pine Key. It celebrates the colorful marine life that characterizes the Keys’ unique coral reef ecosystem while encouraging environmentally responsible diving.
As well as watching the Beatles pretenders “perform” beneath the sea accompanied by backup singer “Mako Ono,” finned fans might even spot a replica yellow submarine saluting the album’s 1969 release.
Staged by local radio station WWUS 104.1 FM, the fish-friendly festival features the station’s selections broadcast underwater via Lubell Laboratory speakers suspended beneath boats positioned at the reef.
The playlist is to include ocean-themed ditties such as Jimmy Buffett’s “Fins,” authentic humpback whale song and, of course, the Beatles’ “Octopus’s Garden” and “Yellow Submarine.”
Underwater music “afishionados” also plan to jam on aquatic instruments sculpted by Florida Keys artist August Powers. Blending elements of sea creatures and actual instruments, Powers’ creations include a trom-bonefish, manta-lin and drumfish.
To draw attention to the underlying message of reef preservation, the musical broadcast incorporates diver awareness announcements featuring tips on enjoying the ocean while minimizing impact on the marine environment.
To participate in the Underwater Music Festival’s 25th anniversary, divers and snorkelers can reserve space aboard boats run by Lower Keys dive operators or launch their own boats from public ramps and local marinas.
For information about area dive charters and accommodations, call the Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce at (800) 872-3722 or (305) 872-2411, or visit www.fla-keys.com or www.lowerkeyschamber.com.