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Rock band Viola Beach killed in Sweden bridge tragedy had played Belfast venue only week before

By David Mercer

The British rock band and their manager killed after the car they were travelling in plunged more than 80ft into a canal in Sweden played one of their last gigs in Belfast.

Yesterday the management of The Limelight paid tribute to Viola Beach.

The band's four members and manager died after their vehicle went through the barrier of a bridge that had opened to let a boat pass underneath

Viola Beach took to the stage of The Limelight 2 in Ormeau Avenue on Saturday, February 6, supporting Blossoms.

A spokesman for the venue said: "We were shocked and saddened to learn of a tragedy in Stockholm in which five young men lost their lives.

"As a fantastic and exciting new band, we were delighted to have them play the venue.

"They were absolute gentlemen as well.

"Love to the band's fans, friends and family from everyone at The Limelight."

Viola Beach - Kris Leonard, River Reeves, Tomas Lowe and Jack Dakin - and their manager Craig Tarry died in the incident in Sodertalje, 18 miles from the capital Stockholm on Saturday.

A musician who played at the same gig in Sweden as Viola Beach said Mr Tarry had not been drinking at the event because he was driving.

John Olsson, from Swedish band Psykofant, also said his band had driven the same route earlier as Viola Beach had taken and there had been "a lot of snow that day".

Tributes from the world of music were paid to the group, from Warrington in Cheshire, who had played the Swedish music festival Where Is The Music? on Friday.

The four-piece released their debut single Swings & Waterslides last year and had featured on BBC Introducing, which showcases up-and-coming artists.

They were due to play a gig in Guildford in Surrey on Saturday.

In a statement, the family of Mr Reeves (19) said: "We are all heartbroken following River's tragic death and the circumstances which have seen him lose his life alongside the band-mates and manager he adored. Viola Beach were on such an exciting journey and River could not have been happier.

"He would have loved to have stuck around for the party. All River wanted to do was perform and entertain and to think that he will never make us laugh again with his ridiculous impressions and cheeky banter is beyond comprehension for all his family."

Mr Tarry's family said they were "devastated" and "grieving the loss of their son and also for the other families involved in this tragic accident".

They added: "Craig was a warm, loving person who had worked tirelessly to achieve success and follow his dreams within the music industry.

"He will be sadly missed by his family and his colleagues."

British band The Enemy wrote on social media: "RIP Viola Beach and their manager.

"Such incredibly tragic and sad news.

Thoughts with the friends and families of all involved x." James Walsh, lead singer of Starsailor, said: "Very sad to hear the awful news about Warrington's Viola Beach and their manager. Lives and music tragically cut short in their prime."

Ross Jarman, from The Cribs, said his "heart goes out to the Viola Beach guys and their families", while the Coral's James Skelly posted: "So sorry to hear about Viola Beach and Craig Tarry's accident so sad, their families must be devastated."

Radio One DJ Huw Stephens added: "So sorry to hear the news about Viola Beach and their manager. The saddest news. Thinking of all their families at this awful time."

Swedish police said they were called to the incident at about 2.30am and divers had recovered the bodies of the victims.

Belfast Telegraph


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