Four members of the up-and-coming British indie band Viola Beach and their manager were killed early on Saturday morning when their car plummeted 25 metres from a bridge near Stockholm into a canal.
Up and coming British band Viola Beach were ‘on the cusp of making waves in the music industry’ before being tragically killed in a car crash in Sweden.
The band, consisting of guitarist and vocalist Kris Leonard, guitarist River Reeves, Bassist Tomas Lowe, drummer Jack Dakin, and manager Craig Tarry, had travelled abroad to perform at the Where’s The Music? festival but it is believed to have been the car in which they were travelling that was involved in the collision.
The vehicle is reported to have gone through a barrier of a bridge that had been opened to allow a cargo ship to go underneath near Stockholm and a Foreign Office spokesperson confirmed that ‘five British nationals died in a car accident in Sweden on February 13.
“Witnesses say that the safety equipment on the bridge was working and that they passed a queue of cars. We are still interviewing witnesses and investigating they are to try and understand what happened.”
The band, from Warrington in Manchester, was led by frontman Kris Leonard (Guitar/Vocals), and included River Reeves (Guitar), Tomas Lowe (Bass) and Jack Dakin (Drums) and the manager Craig Tarry.
The band died when their car crashed through a barrier and plunged off a canal bridge at Sodertalje, a southern district of the capital Stockholm.
Their vehicle reportedly approached the bridge at speed, as it was still not fully shut after allowing a vessel to pass underneath in the early hours of Saturday morning.
“According to witness reports, there were no brake lights on the car so it seems like they simply missed that there was a bridge opening,” Police inspector Martin Bergholm from the police in Södertälje, told Aftonbladet.
“The only people who knew what went on inside the car are dead.”
The crash scene at Sodertalje Kanal in Sweden
John Hugo Olsson, 22, from the Swedish band Psykofant, who shared a dressing room with the band told The Local that the manager Craig Tarry had refused offers of a beer because he knew he had to drive the band to their hotel at Stockholm’s Arlanda airport following the gig.
Olsson said the band had instantly won him over.
“They were fantastic, you immediately fell in love with them the moment they came through the door,” he said. “They had these extremely charming Manchester accents. It was like a scene from A Hard Day’s Night. They just fell into the room.”
“I remember standing in the audience and thinking to myself, ‘these guys have the potential to be the next big band and this story of me being in the dressing room with them will be a really cool story for the future’. I thought to myself, ‘I’m going to remember this night’.”
He said that the band had tried to teach him British slang, while he had taught them to say “you’re beautiful” in Swedish.
“They were really humble and you could just tell that they were having the time of their lives.”
Jonny Alexandersson, a lorry driver who witnessed the incident, told Aftonbladet that other vehicles were waiting for the bridge to close fully but “one car arrived at a crazy speed … at least 70-80 kph (45-50 mph). That’s very quick when everybody else was stopped.”
News of the tragedy spread quickly on social media and fellow 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.”
Phil Taggart, a DJ with Britain’s BBC Radio 1 music station tweeted that the band had been “on the cusp of something great”.
Completely speechless. Not just a band on the cusp of something great but young lads with their whole lives ahead. RIP Craig and Viola Beach
— Phil Taggart (@philytaggart) February 14, 2016
A contributor to Viola Beach’s Facebook page wrote: “So awful. Taken before anybody had the chance to see what they might have become.”
Another said: “Such sad news, you guys were gonna be big.”
The band were planning to stay the night at the airport before catching a flight early the next day back to the UK, where they were set to play a gig in Guildford, southern England.
According to Sweden’s Expressen newspaper, the band’s whistlestop visit saw them on stage at 9.30pm for a 45 minute set, and then set off only hours later.
John Hugo Olsson tweeted a picture of the band he had taken in the dressing room before their gig.