Warrington Band Live On In Our Charts As Well As Our Hearts
Lee Barber || August 5th
I feel compelled to write this article.
On Friday 12th February, I spent the day stressing about the Music Awards of Staffordshire & Cheshire, an event I had organised in the hope of giving a pedestal on which our talented musicians could stand. The first of its kind in the area, I had put myself under immense pressure to deliver, but I had faith in the music community of Stoke-on-Trent and its surrounding areas.
The night itself was as stressful for me as the day had been, but it was thoroughly enjoyable looking back and, even if I say so myself, a massive success. And of course, with evenings as such, a great celebration was called for, an of course, many drinks were had. Waking up the next morning, I was still lost in a world of euphoria; we as a city, as a county, as a community, had just put on an awards ceremony, in front of almost 500 people looking lovely in suits, and given ample promotion to our musicians along the way, and giving awards to those who had won in the voting polls. As you can imagine, cloud 9 itself was a long way down from where I was currently feeling.
When I went onto my phone, Facebook greeted me by nothing but photographs and comment about the Music Awards of Staffordshire & Cheshire. It goes without saying, my face was beaming, but then I was hit with a post which brought me immediately back down to earth. An article which led me to break down in floods of tears, right there in my bed. I'm finding it hard not to cry even now just recalling that horrific morning. Viola Beach, a young, ambitious band from Warrington, had died in a car crash in Sweden that morning, along with their band manager. It was news which shocked me to the very core, I simply could not get it out of my mind.
How could this happen? Who would allow these beautiful people to be taken from us, just as they are about to break the music world? An event so very close to home, I could not explain then, nor can I explain now, the feelings I carry with me about five people I never even knew. In all honesty, I didn't really know Viola Beach, it had been only one week before the tragic event that my partner was listening to Radio X play Swings And Waterslides in the car, as she collected me that night from work.
'Lee you have to check these guys out! This song is in sane. They're only from Warrington as well!'
And of course it was in sane. Such a vibrant, refreshing sound, fresher than anything I had heard for a long while. Hearing they were to support Blossoms on their tour on excited me even more, since Blossoms were scheduled to land at The Sugarmill for one of the legs.
In truth, I'm at a total loss. Or at least I was. Blossoms went ahead with their tour, and vowed to make sure Viola Beach were with them every step of the way, playing a recorded live set of the band at each gig. Seeing Blossoms at Glastonbury not even two months ago, Viola Beach are still prominent at Blossoms sets, with the band dedicated their set to their late friends. Also at Glastonbury, Coldplay performed possibly the most moving moment in the history of the famous festival, performing Viola Beach song Boys That Sing during their headline set on the Pyramid Stage. Of the stage, support for Viola Beach continued to grow also, their story becoming an event which seemed to bring musicians and music communities together in mourning.
The band's debut album, it was decided, would still be released, via their own label Fuller Beans Records, and today, just one week since its release, we are able to say that the album sits at number one in the charts. Band members Kris Leonard, River Reeves, Tomas Lowe, Jack Dakin and manager Craig Tarry have been able to achieve their wildest dreams of headlining Glastonbury, touring the UK, and now having a number 1 album in the charts. Something we can all enjoy, and cherish, and look back on in years to come in fondness
The families of the band members have expressed their thanks to everyone who has purchased the album and supported Viola Beach, and believe that seeing the album reach number 1 has sent out a very important message, that the horrific event in Sweden will now not define their lives..
The album itself is a truly wonderful collection, and will forever keep the band in our hearts now for all the right reasons.