SIX years on from the tragic accident in Sweden, Warrington’s own Viola Beach have not been defined by that.

The band legacy continues to live on through work done by some of the families of Kris Leonard, River Reeves, Tom Lowe and Jack Dakin who were guided by manager Craig Tarry.

For River’s dad, Ben Dunne, he is proud to help keep the band and their work etched in the memories of Warringtonians.

He said: “It’s our number one priority to continue the legacy. Both Sharon and myself when we heard Chris Martin at Glastonbury talking about creating Viola Beach’s alternate future, we looked at each other and we knew that was how we would try and cope with things.

“We realised fairly early on that we were never going to make sense of the tragedy or we comprehend what had happened.

“But, if somehow, some good could come out of it it’s good.”

And on Wednesday, a vinyl edition of their first album was released for the first time, which sold out on one of the websites.

“It sold out and that is great,” added Ben.

“The fact that we are still talking about Viola Beach and us as a family specifically talking about River, the accident hasn’t defined him and the reason we are still talking about Viola Beach is because the music is really good and the album is a beautiful, well-crafted album.

“That’s a great legacy for River. The real fans of Viola Beach just appreciate having something to own that is a bit more than a digital download.”

The legacy of Viola Beach started off with a small festival at Priestley College with a 300-strong crowd.


Ben Dunne pictured at RivFest - Picture: Joseph Richardson

Ben Dunne pictured at RivFest - Picture: Joseph Richardson


Ben, dad to Fin, Quinlan, Dylan, and Jasmine continued: “We didn’t make any long-term plans but we just wanted to see where it will take us.

“Whenever I pick up the phone or when Sharon speaks to people, it resonates with Warrington and we have had some amazing support.”

As part of upcoming projects to build on the likes of outfits for students to attend proms, a small group of Riv's Riders will be taking on the Tour du Mont-Blanc (TMB) cycle which is a 330km cycle that sees riders climb over 8000m in less than 20 hours, the height of Mount Everest.

“Through Covid, to get the fundraising going again we thought we would do something big.

“I’ve got some mates who are really serious cyclists and we said if we were to do something abroad and we were really daring to dream, what would we do? And they said the Mont Blanc challenge.

“It’s a really tough challenge. It seems like we needed something like that.

“People have been very generous. It felt the right thing to do after it had been a few years since we did Riv’s Riders," continued Ben.

“I don’t know how I’m going to finish it, but I will certainly give it a good go.”

And the current Vintage Viola shop will be moving into the old Sports Direct unit potentially as early as next month with a Phoenix Lounge.

“The plan is to create a really special space for young people. The shop will still be downstairs but in time and fundraising-dependant, we are planning to have a performance space upstairs with a stage so that young artists can come and play.

“The Phoenix link is through Sharon’s mum’s maiden name and creating something new out of the ashes.

“We’re both really excited about it.”