The inaugural Rock the Ocean Tortuga Music Festival, presented by LandShark, left little more than footprints in the sand on the way to being a landmark event that married music and ocean conservation. Many thousands of fans ventured to the two-day music festival on Fort Lauderdale Beach this past Saturday and Sunday. While 23 bands and performers played their music, scores of marine research and conservation organizations gave concertgoers a visual, interactive presentation of marine science and management at the Conservation Village in the middle of the festival grounds. The Conservation Village exhibitors included shark trackers, coral reefs maps in HD, a mock sea turtle nest, a mobile aquarium, a fishing simulator game, and lessons on how technology is used to restore oyster and seagrass beds. A rotation of local celebrity chefs cooked and handed out free samples of tasty seafood dishes with fresh lionfish filleted on site and other sustainable seafood. One of the exhibitors, Ocean Conservancy, handed out free t-shirts to concertgoers willing to help clean the beach throughout the two-day festival. “The end result is thousands of concertgoers left the Tortuga Music Festival with a better understanding of how research, technology and reasonable conservation practices can improve the health of our oceans,” said Antonio Fins, executive director of the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, which spearheaded the Conservation Village. Tortuga Music Festival organizers delivered on their promise to leave the beach in a better state than they found it. “This was by far the cleanest beach event I have ever witnessed in Fort Lauderdale,” said Justin Gould, Director of Marketing with Sea Turtle Oversight Protection (S.T.O.P.), one of the organizations exhibiting in the Conservation Village. “This beach was actually left cleaner than it was found by the fans themselves.” Gould said Rock the Ocean’s Tortuga Music Festival was the perfect event to kick off the sea turtle nesting season, which typically starts in April and runs through November. To accommodate and protect any nesting turtles the promoters consciously ended the music each night at 9:30 pm. Dr. Guy Harvey, the internationally celebrated marine wildlife artist and scientist, whose Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation spearheaded the conservation effort along with Rock the Ocean Foundation founder Chris Stacey, called the effort “a tremendous success” with Conservation Village being the place where the message of marine conservation and awareness was delivered in an interactive, thought-provoking and entertaining way.