Viola Beach: British band in Sweden canal crash performed at Leeds and Reading festivals

The four young men were from near Manchester

The four members and manager of a British band believed to have been killed when their car crashed into a canal in Sweden had won recognition from the BBC and performed at Leeds and Reading music festivals.

Police have said a car carrying five Britons plunged more than 25m (82ft) from a highway bridge into a canal after it veered off a bridge, hit a road barrier and landed in a canal.

The men, who were aged between 19 and 35, had recently posted an invitation to play at BBC Introducing in mid-March on their Facebook page.

"Very excited to annouce we've been invited to play BBC Introducing and PRS for Music Foundation's showcase at SXSW Music Festival in Austin Texas at Latitude 30 on Wednesday 16th March!!", they wrote on 2 February.

 

Very excited to announce we've been invited by to play BBC Introducing and PRS for Music Foundation’s showcase at SXSW...

Posted by Viola Beach on Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The band's breakthrough came when frontman Kris Leonard sent off one of their songs to the BBC while cleaning toilets, he told the Warrington Guardian in August.

He and his fellow musicians, named as drummer Jack Dakin, guitarist River Reeves and bassist Tom, were from the Warrington area in between Liverpool and Manchester.

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The band were due to tour throughout February and March, ending in their hometown

As a result of being recognised as new talent by the BBC, the indie four-piece had gone on to perform at Reading and Leeds Festival.

At the time, Mr Leonard had told the Warrington Guardian: "We're excited and little nervous but we're just treating it as a normal gig on a much larger scale."

He had also said the band had been in talks with "most major labels" after their debut single "Swings and Waterslides" had gathered more than one million plays on SoundCloud and Spotify since being released last summer.

The single was produced alongside Ian Grimble, who has also worked with Mumford & Sons, according to music blog Never Enough Notes.

Twitter and Facebook fans expressed their grief at the news of the sudden deaths of the promising band members.

"What a chilling picture after seeing the pitcure of the wreckage on sky news. So sad. Rest in peace lads," said Twitter user Tom Burton.

"Warrington will be forever proud of you guys," said Stuart Mann.

The group were set to tour throughout February and March, making a return to their hometown of Warrington in mid-March in a show which had already sold out two months in advance.

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