Last photo of indie band Viola Beach before they died in bridge plunge

John Olsson took what is believed to be the final photo of Viola Beach in the band's dressing room in Norrkoping on Friday night. Photo / John Olsson / Twitter
John Olsson took what is believed to be the final photo of Viola Beach in the band's dressing room in Norrkoping on Friday night. Photo / John Olsson / Twitter

This is believed to be the final photograph of the members of Viola Beach, who died when their car plunged more than 24 metres from a highway bridge into a canal south of Stockholm.

Kris Leonard, River Reeves, Tomas Lowe, Jack Dakin and their manager Craig Tarry, all aged between 20 and 33, died just hours after playing their first ever gig outside of the UK.

They can be seen joking around in their dressing room at the venue in Norrkoping, Sweden, in a snap taken by a fellow musician, who today praised the up-and-coming band from Warrington, Cheshire.

John Olsson, member of Swedish punk band Psykofant, took the last known picture of Viola Beach after seeing them take the stage in Norrkoping.

"I remember standing in the audience thinking these guys really have the potential to become huge," Mr Ohlsson, 22, told MailOnline.

"And I thought that it is going to be a cool thing to be able to say, in the future, that I was hanging with Viola Beach in a dressing room in Norrkoping before their first gig outside Great Britain. They were incredibly good live and amazingly skilled musicians, but probably even nicer people. We shared a dressing room and my band had just finished out gig, and then they stumbled in with their amazingly charming accents. They reminded me of The Beatles in Hard Day's Night - kind of charmingly clumsy.

"We were heading back home to Stockholm after their gig so I walked past the drummer and said thank you for a great show, and joked that if I was ever in the Manchester area I'd give him a shout. He got so happy and said, 'Oh yeah, give me a call, you'll have a place to stay' and we hugged and me and my band went home. We actually drove back the same way, just one hour earlier, over the same bridge."


Swedish police said the car in which Viola Beach and their manager were travelling plunged through a gap in the bridge which had opened to let a boat pass underneath.

The bridge has a middle section that rises directly upwards without tilting, leaving a gap that the car drove into, the Swedish police told the BBC Online.

A barrier before the opening has flashing lights and warning signs, and other drivers were waiting behind it, said the officer leading the investigation into the tragedy, Inspector Martin Bergholm.

"For some reason, the car drove through the barriers and crashed down into the canal. The witnesses just saw a car beside them and kind of disappear."

Associated Press quoted Bergholm as saying it was getting dark and the road was slippery when the accident happened.

"There were no brake marks on the road and it's very difficult to say how fast the car was going at the time," he said, adding that a witness - a truck driver who had stopped at the barrier - estimated the speed at between 70 and 80km/h.

The accident occurred on the E4 highway in Stockholm's Sodertalje district.

The band, which has a huge and loyal UK fanbase, were in Sweden to play at a music festival.

Their last post on Facebook was on February 2, when they excitedly wrote about being booked to play the huge SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas, on March 16.

Swedish police said the band died when their car fell more than 25 metres from a highway bridge into the waterway. Photo / Facebook
Swedish police said the band died when their car fell more than 25 metres from a highway bridge into the waterway. Photo / Facebook

Tributes have been flooding in on Twitter for the group.

British band The Enemy wrote: "RIP Viola Beach and their manager. Such incredibly tragic and sad news. Thought with the friends and families of all involved x."

Ghost of the Astoria wrote: "Very sad news about the guys from Viola Beach - Bright young Warrington band, looked like they were going to go big. RIP lads x."

Ryan Wilford penned: "Such a shame about Viola Beach, such a loss for Warrington and the music world! Life is so cruel!"

Aaron Flanagan said: "Desperately sad news about Viola Beach. Talented musicians, and their friends only spoke highly of them. Major loss for Warrington. RIP."

Man and The Echo tweeted: "Just heard horrendous news about @Viola-Beach. Fellow Warrington lads, they rehearsed next door to us. Our thoughts are with their families."

Last year, Leonard, aged 19, explained how he formed Viola Beach with Dakin after bumping into him at Warrington bus station.

The pair both went to Bradshaw Primary School, in Grappenhall, Cheshire, but had lost touch with each other.

Leonard had already met Reeves on a music course at Priestley College and Lowe at Warrington bar The Lounge.

The Lounge was also where the band played their warm-up show before making their debut at Liverpool's legendary Cavern Club on July 15.

Leonard said: "To play in this historic venue in front of all these industry people was a wake-up call. We had someone there from SJM Concerts, who are now promoting our shows for us."

Viola Beach also had airplay from Huw Stephens on Radio 1, Steve Lamacq from 6 Music and Jo Good at XFM.

Viola Beach became one of the fastest-growing bands on the British music scene after Leonard sent a track to BBC Introducing.

- With Daily Mail

- Daily Telegraph UK

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