A leading band from the borough will play one of its biggest headlining gigs to date on an emotional night in memory of a tragic indie group.
The Lottery Winners, have the top slot at this week’s Rivfest in memory of Viola Beach, who sadly died when their car plunged into a canal in Sweden in 2016.
The band, made up of lead vocalist and guitarist Thom Rylance, guitarist and singer Robert Lally, bassist and vocalist Katie Lloyd and drummer Joe Singleton, will join other acts in Warrington to play for festival organisers the River Reeves Foundation on Friday.
The Lottery Winners were particularly honoured to be included as they knew Viola Beach and the deaths of the musicians and manager shocked the music world.
The day is raising money for a mental health project which Thom says is an issue very close to the band’s heart.
He said: “What happened to Viola Beach was tragic and affected our band greatly.
“We didn’t know them as friends but when you are in an industry so small and in such a local scene you are aware of all the other bands.
“We had been on bills with them quite a lot and it really felt close to home when the news came through.
“It could have been any of us; any band on the road today.
“They were doing what we all do or aspire to do - play their music to appreciative audiences wherever they could. It’s important we remember them.”
The Lottery Winners will be last on stage at Parr Hall and a crowd of around 1,000 people is expected.
Proceeds from Rivfest go to the Future in Mind project run in partnership with bus company Arriva North West to provide mental health support in local schools.
Thom said that for him contributing to the fundraising for such a cause is a deeply personal matter.
Thom said: “Raising awareness of mental health in young people is vitally important as symptoms are often overlooked.
“My own struggles with mental health caused my removal from several schools as a teenager. They didn’t know what was wrong with me, but neither did I.
“If Future in Mind can help anyone in a similar situation then I urge people who love music and who give a damn to buy tickets for Rivfest and fund the work of a truly worthwhile project.”
The Lottery Winners have enjoyed a rapid rise to the top of the indie music scene since signing for major label Warner and they have been holed up in iconic studios across the country recording an album.
Thom says the amount of work that goes into something released by a big-name company is phenomenal but admits he is looking forward to the immediacy of performing some of the songs live on Friday.
He said: “There’s so much more consideration and care that goes into everything.
“I’m very impulsive and normally if I write a song I want to record it that night and release it next day, but now those decisions are in the hands of much more capable people.
"We went to studios around the country for the things they are best at. We went to Abbey Road to get a specific sound we wanted and did the vocals at a place in Liverpool with these amazing analogue tapes. For me though there’s no better feeling than playing live. That’s where I truly belong, standing in front of people playing guitar.”
The Lottery Winners have given fans a sneak preview of the album with their video for the song Little Things.
Rivfest in Warrington is on Friday.
Find out more at www.seetickets.com