The Coral, The Kooks and Courteeners were among the acts who celebrated the life of Viola Beach at a gig in Warrington last night (April 2).
The local band killed in a road traffic accident in Sweden earlier this year with a host of friends and their inspirations appearing at Warrington Parr Hall to pay tribute and mourn their loss.
Frontman Kris Leonard, guitarist River Reeves, bassist Tomas Lowe, drummer Jack Dakin and their manager Craig Tarry were all killed in the car accident in February.
The sold-out Warrington show featured a headline set from The Coral while Liam Fray, billed to play solo, brought along his Courteeners band mates for a full band show. There was also an acoustic set from The Kooks and Blossoms, the band Viola Beach were supporting on tour around the time of their deaths.
Speaking to BBC Newsbeat before the gig, Blossoms expressed their sadness at the loss of their friends. Bassist Charlie Salt said: “They were on the same pattern of success as us. It was looking up for them.”
While singer Tom Ogden added: “There are just no words for what happened. It’s something we’ll never forget – it could have been us.”
The packed bill also featured Eliza and the Bear, The Vryll Society, The Strawberries and Psyblings. The Zutons made a rare live appearance alongside Hidden Charms. A recording of Viola Beach’s live show was played between bands.
All proceeds from the show will go to the families of Viola Beach and Tarry.
In March Swedish crash investigators were forced to clarify comments that seemed to suggest they believed the crash that killed Warrington band was deliberate.
The Warrington band were on a tour when their car plummeted from a bridge into a canal 18 miles from Swedish capital Stockholm on February 13, killing all four members of the band (Kris Leonard, River Reeves, Tomas Lowe and Jack Dakin) and their manager Craig Tarry. Police have yet to reveal who was driving at the time.
The band’s song ‘Swings and Waterslides’ entered the UK charts at Number 11 last month, after a campaign from fans to get the track to Number One in tribute to the late musicians.
The group’s record label Communion have confirmed that the proceeds from sale of singles will go to the families of the band and their manager.