BIG PINE KEY, Fla. (AP) - More than 500 divers and snorkelers descended Saturday in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary for an underwater concert.
The Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival offered an offbeat salute to rock with divers costumed as "Eel-vis Presley," ''Bob Marlin," ''Joss "Stone Crab" and other famed musicians.
Staged by radio station WWUS, the event took place at Looe Key Reef, about six miles south of Big Pine Key. The station's four-hour commercial-free broadcast was piped underwater via speakers suspended beneath boats positioned above the reef. Organizers said the sound quality was clear, with an ethereal effect caused by the sound waves' transmission through water.
"The sound of the music underwater is glorious," Laura Bohdan, of Ithaca, N.Y., said.
The broadcast playlist included ocean-themed offerings such as the Beatles' "Yellow Submarine," Jimmy Buffett's "Fins" and the theme song from Disney's "The Little Mermaid."
"The fish seemed to enjoy the music as much as I did," snorkeler and first-time festival participant Gail Coad of Sarasota said. "They almost were dancing in unison to the melody, and the music just kind of surrounds you."
Key West resident Samantha Langsdale wore a bright green mermaid costume and said she made some undersea friends during the festival.
"I believe that the parrotfish family accepted me," Langsdale said. "We have similar colors."
As well as being a one-of-a-kind event for divers and snorkelers, the Underwater Music Festival included diver awareness messages promoting preservation of the unique coral reef ecosystem in the Florida Keys.
"We have a lot of fun, we dress up in costumes, but there's a serious side," festival director Bill Becker said. "Coral reef conservation is the message."