Rivfest music festival returns to Warrington in memory of Viola Beach star River Reeves

The father of Viola Beach guitarist River Reeves has been speaking to Granada Reports Correspondent Andy Bonner about Rivfest.


A music festival is making a welcome return to Warrington this weekend after being forced to cancel in 2020 because of the pandemic.

Rivfest was set up in memory of Viola Beach guitartist River Reeves, who lost his life with his bandmates and manager in a car accident after a gig in 2016.

It is organised by The River Reeves Foundation, a charity launched in 2016 to help young artists.

River Reeves was 19 when he died.

The 2021 event will also mark five years since Viola Beach posthumously reached number one in the UK Albums chart.

Kris Leonard (guitar and vocals), River Reeves (guitar), Tomas Lowe (bass guitar), and Jack Dakin (drums) died along with band manager manager Craig Tarry when their car plunged 80ft into a canal in Sweden in 2016.

Rivfest began the same year, with a small event at Priestley College, where River studied, to an audience of 300 people.

All four members of the band and their manager died in the crash in 2016.

It drew a 3000 strong crowd the following year, with headline performances by Maximo Park and Billy Bragg.

After a year out due to lockdown regulations, this year the festival is back and will be showcasing some of the hottest upcoming acts.

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Bands appearing include headline act Everything Everything, Eliza and the Bear, DJ Graeme Park as well as local talent Abi Rose Kelly and Saytr Play.

The event will raise money to help young people who want to pursue careers in the arts.

Many of the local acts on this year’s line-up have previously been awarded bursaries from the River Reeves Foundation.

Over the next 12 months, the charity will award another 50 grants to support young people and those from disadvantaged backgrounds to achieve their artistic ambitions.

Rivfest runs from Friday August 6 until Sunday August 8.