All four members and the manager of British indie band Viola Beach were killed in a car crash in Södertälje, Sweden during the early hours of Saturday, February 13th.
The band, comprised of guitarist/lead vocalist Kristian Leonard, 20, guitarist River Reeves, 19, bass player Tomas Lowe, 27, drummer Jack Dakin, 19, and manager Craig Tarry, 32, were tragically killed when the car plunged 82ft from a highway bridge into a canal.
Viola Beach formed in Warrington in 2013, but the final line-up was formed in May 2015, with River Reeves and Tomas Lowe joining original members Kristian Leonard and Jack Dakin. The band released their first single ‘Swings and Waterslides’ in August 2015, and was added to the BBC Radio 1 Playlist in September. The band also played the BBC Introducing Stage at Reading and Leads Festival that year, and were set to break out into stardom.
The family of guitarist River Reeves said: “We are all heartbroken following River’s tragic death and the circumstances which have seen him lose his life alongside the bandmates and manager he adored and loved being with. Viola Beach were on such an exciting journey and River could not have been happier. He would have loved to have stuck around for the party.”
Kristian Leonard’s family said in a statement: “Words cannot express the sadness we feel at the loss of our precious Kristian. He was doing the job he loved and will be missed so much by his family and friends.”
Tributes poured out from people in the music industry that had known the band too, with Radio 1 DJ Huw Stevens saying: “So sorry to hear the news about Viola Beach and their manager. The saddest news. Thinking of all their families at this awful time.”
So sorry to hear the news about Viola Beach and their manager. The saddest news. Thinking of all their families at this awful time.
— Huw Stephens (@huwstephens) February 14, 2016
Singer/ Producer Lapsley tweeted: “It is so sad to hear of the passing of the band members and manager of Viola Beach. I used to see them out in liverpool. brings perspective”
It is so sad to hear of the passing of the band members and manager of Viola Beach. I used to see them out in liverpool. brings perspective
— Låpsley (@MusicLapsley) February 14, 2016
Meanwhile Collabro singer Jamie Lambert wrote: “How sad about Viola Beach. Up and coming talent.”
Our thoughts go out to the family, friends, and fans of Viola Beach and Mr Tarry.