British Indie Band Viola Beach Killed in Car Crash

All four members of British indie band Viola Beach and their manager were killed in the early hours of Saturday, February 13, when their car plunged more than twenty-five meters into a canal near Stockholm, Sweden.

Photo Credit: BBC

Viola Beach, formed in May 2015, had just embarked on their first international tour, and were playing in Sweden as part of music festival Where is The Music? At the time of the tragedy it is believed the band, comprised of Kris Leonard, River Reeves, Tomas Lowe and Jack Dakin, and manager Craig Tarry, were on their way to Arlana airport to travel back to the UK, where they were meant to play in Guilford on Saturday.

Police confirmed that all warning lights and barricades were functional at the time, meaning that the car passed through a red light and two barricades before plunging off the bridge, not to mention passing a line of other cars waiting behind the barricades. Witnesses in the queue spoke of a car flying past them as a blur, and intoxication was suggested as the cause of the accident, yet another musician at the festival came forward saying that Tarry did not drink because there had been snowfall that day and he was driving that night.

The car was towed out of the canal in the early hours of Saturday. Photo Credit:

Family and friends issued statements grieving for the band, unanimous in their high opinion of their talent, achievements, and modesty in the face of growing fame. Their infectious melodies and singalong lyrics were a warm welcome to the UK audience during a drizzly 2015 summer, and the raw talent of each band member was immediately obvious.

John Olsson, member of band Psykofant, shared a dressing room with Viola Beach during the Where Is The Music? festival. On hearing the news, Olsson said

“With their charming British accents they were like The Beatles in A Hard Day’s Night. I was standing in the audience thinking I will be able to say I hung around with Viola Beach before they made it big.”

craigManager Craig Tarry was well-known as a lifetime supporter of Manchester United Football Club, which gave a tribute in the Premier League game in Tottenham on Sunday by way of a round of applause, and tweeted their devastation.

Viola Beach released their debut single ‘Swings and Waterslides’ in September 2015, following up with “Boys Who Sing”/”Like a Fool” in January. They were featured several times on BBC Introducing, a program that showcases promising musicians, and had their first BBC Maida Vale session in early 2016. BBC Radio 1’s Huq Stephens described the band as “incredibly promising,” and music promoter Dave Pichilingi said they were “on the verge of great things.”