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Viola Beach: 'Lovable' lads remembered after deadly crash

The four members of Viola Beach

Fans and friends have been remembering the indie band Viola Beach after they died in a car accident in Sweden on Saturday.

Kris Leonard, River Reeves, Tomas Lowe, Jack Dakin and manager Craig Tarry, aged between 20 and 33, were killed.

Their car plunged more than 25m (82ft) from a bridge into a canal.

People gathered at The Lounge bar in Warrington where two of the band members worked. One fan said they were "down-to-earth... and just lovable."

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David Morgan, entertainment reporter for the Warrington Guardian, was due to meet up with the band on Tuesday and said he was shocked at the news.

Image caption On Sunday, people left flowers and beer bottles as tributes outside a bar where two of the band members worked

"They were going to come in for a photo shoot, I was going to meet the manager and meet the band because I was going to join them when they played the Pyramid, which is a small stage in Warrington.

"And then for it all to just end in an instant, it's obviously quite shocking," David said.

David said front man Kris Leonard was "humble" about the fact that he was a cleaner for the Warrington Guardian at the same time he was in the band.

"That's how he got to know BBC Introducing by uploading this track while supposedly cleaning our toilets.

"It's hard to say what their legacy will be but I think they'll always be remembered, especially in Warrington."

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Media captionLee Harman, editor of Warrington Music website, said Viola Beach had 'talent and drive to be successful'

'Heartbreaking'

Dave Monks, who presents the BBC Introducing programme on Radio Merseyside, played early demo tracks from the band.

"Straight away they jumped out as such a great band with great potential. It was really uplifting music, it was quite anthemic. Always got a great reaction whenever they played.

"They got selected to play the Reading and Leeds festivals and since then they've just gone on and on. They've just signed a small deal with Communion records as well and just released their new single Boys That Sing.

"We're so proud of their story so to hear this is heartbreaking."

A poster of Viola Beach is still proudly displayed outside The Lounge bar in Warrington town centre where three members of the band had worked.

Explaining why he had come to the venue, one fan spoke of how talented the "lovely young gentlemen" were.

Image copyright @jholsson/PA Wire
Image caption The four-piece Warrington-based band were officially formed in May last year

"It's just natural to congregate round where we had so many happy times with them... this was their social hub round here.

"The only thing that outstripped their talent was what lovely young gentlemen they were - and gentlemen is not a word we tend to use these days that often but all of them really were down-to-earth, self-deprecating, funny, daft and just lovable.

"They just walked into a room and the room lit up. It's just an absolute tragedy.

Viola Beach were due to play a homecoming gig in Warrington in March and now their fans have begun a social media campaign to encourage people to buy their music to get them a place in the charts.

Jason Carter, head of BBC Introducing, said the band's tracks and live performances would be played over the next few days and all 36 of the service's local radio shows would pay tribute on Saturday.

Warrington Council said the flag at the town hall will be flown at half-mast this week in memory of the band.


Who were Viola Beach?

  • Four-piece band from Warrington, Cheshire
  • Kris Leonard - guitar, lead vocal; River Reeves - guitar, who grew up in Cornwall; Tomas Lowe - bass; Jack Dakin - drums
  • Officially formed in May 2015
  • Released debut single Swings & Waterslides last year and put out their second single Boys That Sing on 22 January
  • Played several BBC Introducing Sessions
  • Performed at Reading and Leeds Festival in 2015

Read more about the band


The crash happened while the band were in Sweden to take part in a music festival on Friday. They had hours earlier played their first international gig.

An investigation is now under way into the accident in which police say the band's car fell through a gap in a bridge, which had opened to let a boat pass through.

Their families said they had been doing what they loved.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The accident happened in the early hours of Saturday morning in Sodertalje

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