FIVE years on since the tragic deaths of Warrington indie rock band, Viola Beach, the charity launched in their memory is calling on the music industry to support its V for Viola campaign – helping other young performing artists achieve their dreams.
The River Reeves Foundation was set up in tribute to River and the dreams he shared with his Viola Beach bandmates and manager Craig Tarry. All were killed in a road accident in Sweden, on 13 February 2016, travelling back from their first European gig. The Foundation raises funds for bursaries through arts-inspired events and initiatives to help young people develop their talents and as they break into the industry.
As this week marks the five-year anniversary of their deaths, the Foundation is going viral across social media with V for Viola (V to symbolise five years, five fundraising events and the initial of the band itself) and hopes those who knew and supported the band that River loved being a part of, will get behind the cause.
Talented and destined for stardom, Viola Beach featured on the BBC new music strand Introducing, they toured Europe and the US and performed at both the Leeds and Reading Festivals. The band were due to appear at Glastonbury the year they died and were championed by Coldplay, who played their Boys that Sing track on the headline stage that year in their memory. Their eponymous album was released posthumously, reaching Number One in the UK Albums Chart in August 2016. There are exciting plans to mark the 5th anniversary of this fabulous achievement later this summer.
V for Viola is set to go national with the help of fans and supporters and the five key events will include five virtual races for participants of all ages to run as Riv’s Runners. The charity’s live music event RivFest, will also return, which has previously headlined acts such as Maximo Park, Eliza and the Bear, Billy Bragg and an eclectic line-up of the best of Warrington’s young talented bands. The annual Rainbow Ball is set to take place in October and the Foundation has now launched Vintage Viola online, to support the fabulous shop that sells pre-loved vintage clothes and accessories to raise funds for the Foundation. Prominence will also relaunch; the Foundation’s project to eradicate prom poverty from the town.
Sharon Dunne, River’s step-mum and Trustee of the River Reeves Foundation, said: “River dreamed big and our young people need to know that they can too. There’s so much talent out there and sometimes all these future stars need is that little push and opportunity to set them on their way. “
“All River wanted to do was perform and entertain. He was so passionate about helping bring the wonderful songs written by lead singer Kris Leonard to life. Thankfully, those songs were recorded and we now have their music forever in our lives. Who knows what they might have achieved had their lives not been cut tragically short just as they found themselves on the brink of something big.
“We want River’s memory and spirit to live on, not only through the wonderful music he helped create with his bandmates and manager, but also through the town’s young people, giving them the chance to build their confidence, hone their talent and share it with the world.”
For more information on the River Reeves Foundation and the help and support available for young performing artists, or if you would like to make a donation, visit http://www.riverreevesfoundation.org/