All four members of up-and-coming British band Viola Beach died in a car accident in Stockholm early Saturday morning, The Daily News reports. They had performed at Sweden’s Where Is The Music? festival on Friday and were headed to open for the band Blossoms in Guildford, England the next day when their tour van fell off a bridge and plunged more than 25 feet into a canal, killing frontman Kris Leonard, guitarist River Reeves, bassist Tomas Lowe, drummer Jack Dakin, and their manager Craig Tarry. According to the BBC, Swedish police say the bridge had just opened up to allow a boat to pass underneath, and the band’s vehicle drove through a barrier and fell through the gap. Viola Beach had just released their debut single “Swings & Waterslides” last year, followed by “Boys That Sing” last month, and they were scheduled to perform at SXSW in March. It’s terribly sad that this tragedy is how most people will be introduced to them and their music.
Tragic news about Viola Beach. Young band, first tour outside the UK. My thoughts are with their families and friends.
— Billy Bragg (@billybragg) February 14, 2016
UPDATE: Viola Beach’s label, Communion Records, has announced that all proceeds from their single “Boys That Sing” will be donated to the families of the band and their manager. The label also shared the following statement:
Viola Beach had only recently come into the Communion family, and had everything going for them — great songs, passion, talent, drive … everything that a band should have. To sit down with the band was to sit down with a group of guys whose band you wanted to be in, and to be in the presence of a band who knew just what it would take to make it. This is why the band had been in Sweden, rather than sit back and wait for it to happen to them, Kris, River, Jack and Tom were determined to go out into the world and play every show they could until the world was singing along with them, and now that dream has been sadly taken away from all of us. Equally, Craig, their manager was possessed by a passion to help the band achieve everything they wanted to, and to speak with Craig about Viola Beach, and music in general was an absolute pleasure — you knew he was doing it all for the right reasons. Everyone here at Communion is in a state of total shock and sorrow, and our thoughts go out to the families and friends of Craig and the band.
And here’s a tribute from their producer, Ian Grimble:
I first became aware of Viola Beach through their single “Swings & Waterslides” and was very taken by the energy and vibrancy that jumped out of the speakers. Upon meeting them for the first time, along with Craig their manager, I could soon see why, their exuberance and determination to scream out to the world was overwhelming. This combined with undoubted talent and an incredible work ethic for ones so young made every long hour in the studio from then on very rewarding indeed.
It is with great sadness that we will not be able to see them grow from the spark that they are now, into the raging fire that they so desperately desired to become. They were a young band who wrote about what they knew, a legacy for new young bands I hope. “And she told me that she loves a boy who knows how to sing, so I learned how to sing.” And how they sang. My thoughts are with their friends and family right now.