Viola Beach were just about to hit the big time, touring with the likes of Blossoms and getting support from BBC Introducing they were a band with the world at their feet. Unfortunately in February 2016 Viola Beach along with their manager Craig Tarry died in a tragic car accident in Sweden, This year marks the 5 year anniversary of the untimely passing, years should have been filled with sold out gigs, festival headlines and more brit-pop bangers. It is of no doubt however, that those four lads from Warrington left a legacy behind them, with their self-titled LP entering the UK charts at no.1 in July 2016 and the likes of Coldplay covering ‘Boys that sing’ during their headline slot at Glastonbury.
Now to continue the legacy 5 years on we are graced with a tribute track of ‘Swings and Waterslides’ from Warrington Music, a community of musicians from Warrington who wanted to memorialise the band further. It is inspiring to see all of these collective artists get together to celebrate the lives and music of Kris Leonard, Jack Dakin, River Reeves, Thomas Lowe and Craig Tarry, and after hearing the track for the first time it really felt like the most fitting tribute to them.
Listening to the cover, what really stood out to me was the bittersweet lyric ‘I need you home’, when sang by the various artists on this single, it feels like a call to the boys that never made it back after playing their first international gig, whilst simultaneously being a homage to their home town Warrington. Viola Beach really put Warrington on the map, and as organiser of the project Lee Harman says, “They were the first of a new wave of bands who were proud to be from Warrington, and all the artists involved are honoured to be involved.”
You can listen to the single ‘Swings and Waterslides’ now through all streaming services. I hope that when you do you’re reminded of those four boys and their manager chasing their dreams, and feel inspired to chase your own. After all, this anniversary is a harsh reminder that life is too short, whilst also reminding us that even though time goes on someone will always want to bum your lighter.
All proceeds from the single’s success will be donated to charities of Viola Beach’s families choosing.