Families of Viola Beach members reflect five years on from tragedy: “They were living a life less ordinary”

"They were living their dream"

The families of Viola Beach have spoken about the band’s legacy five years on from the accident that claimed their lives.

On February 13, 2016, singer/guitarist Kris Leonard, guitarist River Reeves, bassist Tomas Lowe and drummer Jack Dakin of the Warrington band were killed with their manager Craig Tarry when their tour vehicle plunged into a canal in Sweden.

Five years later, the families of the victims have reflected on their career and lives in a new interview with the BBC. Joanne Dakin, mother of 19-year-old drummer Jack, said: “They were living their dream. It’s a cliché, but they were. They were living a life less ordinary.

“They were doing really well, but they were still working really hard. They didn’t take things for granted,” she said.

Viola Beach CREDIT: Georgia Park

Lisa Leonard, whose 20-year-old son Kris was the band’s frontman, said: “I want people to remember them having fun, because that’s what they were doing.

“I often think about how they must have felt that night. Things were finally coming together after all that hard work and commitment [and] they just wanted to share it with the world.”

Colin Tarry, father of 32-year-old manager Craig, said the band’s shared heritage was important to him. “They were from Warrington and that made him really excited. He wanted this band to put Warrington on the map.”

Rebecca Lowe, sister of the band’s 27-year-old bass player Tomas, said hearing Viola Beach on BBC Radio 1 for the first time was a huge moment. “I remember listening and thinking ‘they really have a chance here.'”

The families’ comments come as a new cover of Viola Beach’s track ‘Swings And Waterslides’ was recorded by a collective of Warrington musicians to mark five years.

The line-up was brought together by Lee Harman, the editor of the local Warrington music publication [WAM] Magazine, with support from the band’s former sound engineer Cal Bate. The track features members of the bands The A.V Club, Sienne, Uno Mas, Crawlers, Aligners, Filthy Tricks and The Zangwills.

Proceeds from the cover, which is out now, are going to charities chosen by the families of Viola Beach.