Viola Beach die in car crash in Sweden

  • Published
Viola Beach
Image caption,
The four-piece Warrington-based band were officially formed in May last year

The four members of British indie band Viola Beach and their manager have died in a car crash in Sweden.

Kris Leonard, River Reeves, Tomas Lowe and Jack Dakin and manager Craig Tarry were killed when their car plunged more than 25m (82ft) from a highway bridge into a canal.

The incident happened in the early hours of Saturday near Stockholm.

Mr Tarry's family say they are grieving his loss and "for the other families involved in this tragic accident".

In a statement, issued via the UK Foreign Office, they said they were "devastated", adding: "Craig was a warm, loving person who had worked tirelessly to achieve success and follow his dreams within the music industry.

"He will be sadly missed by his family and his colleagues."

The Foreign Office earlier confirmed the deaths and said it was supporting the families.

'Swings and Waterslides'

The band were part of the line-up for Swedish music festival Where is the Music? on Friday and were due to play a gig in Guildford in Surrey on Saturday.

A musician who played at the same gig in Sweden said "they were fantastic people to be around".

John Olsson, from Swedish band Psykofant, said: "They were a great band. I was standing in the audience thinking I will be able to say I hung around with Viola Beach before they made it big."

The Boiler Room - the Guildford venue they were due to play - said it was "saddened and devastated" to learn of the deaths.

Blossoms, the band that was meant to be headlining the gig, tweeted: "Absolutely devastated for the loss of Viola Beach and Craig Tarry. Our thoughts are with their friends and families."

Media caption,

Archive footage of Viola Beach performing for BBC Introducing

Viola Beach released their debut single Swings & Waterslides last year and had featured on BBC Introducing, which showcases up-and-coming music artists.

The four piece's last post on Facebook was on 2 February, when they wrote about playing a gig in the US next month.

BBC Radio 1's Huw Stephens said the Warrington band had toured with bigger bands and were "incredibly promising".

Music promoter Dave Pichilingi booked the band for the Liverpool Sound City festival last year and they were scheduled to play again this year.

They were a "hungry, energetic, amazing" band who "were on the verge of great things", he said.

BBC Radio Merseyside presenter Dave Monks, who was among the first to play their music on air, said they were "great guys" who had "so much going for them".

Image source, Not Specified

At the scene in Warrington

Image source, @jholsson/PA
Image caption,
Viola Beach were becoming successful but were still modest, friends said

BBC video journalist Olivia Richwald

The Lounge is a live music bar in Warrington and it's where friends say Viola Beach was "made".

Three members of the band had worked here, one of them, Tomas Lowe, for 10 years.

It's where the boys rehearsed and tried out new songs on a friendly crowd.

A poster of Viola Beach is still proudly displayed outside - it says the boys will be back in Warrington in March.

Not at the bar, because their fan base had grown too big, but at a bigger venue just over the road.

It was a homecoming gig that had sold out with two months to go, one that won't now take place.

This afternoon friends gathered inside the bar and spoke of how talented the band was and how they were just getting big. Successful but still modest, they said.

The Lounge is known as a live music venue. This afternoon it's silent.

Lee Harman, editor of the Warrington Music website WAM who knew the band, said they were "very dedicated" and had a "real passion for what they were doing".

Travis lead singer Fran Healy tweeted: "So sad. @Viola_Beach :("

Ross Jarman, from The Cribs, tweeted: "Heart goes out to the Viola Beach guys and their families."

Indie rock band, The Enemy, tweeted: "RIP Viola Beach and their manager. Such incredibly tragic and sad news. Thought with the friends and families of all involved x"

Image source, Twitter
Image source, Twitter
Image source, Twitter

Viola Beach

  • Four-piece band from Warrington, Cheshire
  • Kris Leonard - guitar, lead vocal; River Reeves - guitar; Tomas Lowe - bass; Jack Dakin - drums
  • Officially formed in May 2015
  • Released debut single Swings & Waterslides last year
  • Played several BBC Introducing Sessions
  • Performed at Reading and Leeds Festival in 2015

Swedish police said they received a call about 02:30 local time (01:30 GMT) and were on the scene within five minutes.

They said divers recovered the bodies of the victims - aged between 20 and 33 - after their Nissan Qashqai plunged through a gap in the bridge which had opened to let a boat pass underneath.

The bridge has a middle section that rises directly upwards without tilting, leaving a gap that the car drove into, the police said.

A barrier before the opening has flashing lights and warning signs, the officer handling the case said, and other drivers were waiting behind the barrier.

Inspector Martin Bergholm said: "For some reason, the car drove through the barriers and crashed down into the canal.

"The witnesses just saw a car beside them and kind of disappear."

Eyewitness Jonny Alexandersson told the BBC he was waiting for the bridge to go down when he saw a car coming very fast on the left side.

"It was very tight," he said. "They passed me and in front of me was a taxi and the car smashed the side of this car and then they go in the barrier, then I don't see anything more of the car, the lights were gone."

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
The car was towed from the canal under the E4 highway bridge near Stockholm
Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
The accident happened in the early hours of Saturday morning in Sodertalje
Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
The bridge has a middle section that rises directly upwards, rather than tilting

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