WATCH: RivFest 2018 is here and celebrating emerging artists & the lives of Viola Beach

Rivfest is back for its 3rd Year. For the first time the event will take place across 2 days in multiple venues around Warrington’s Cultural Quarter. We spoke to River’s Dad, Ben about what we can expect and the legacy Viola Beach have left behind, watch the video above

In another first for Rivfest, a new Friday night showcase has been introduced at the Parr Hall to provide a platform for some of the Northwest’s hottest new Indie acts.

The event, organised by the River Reeves Foundation was set up in memory of the Viola Beach guitarist River Reeves and his band mates Kristian Leonard, Jack Daikin and Tomas Lowe along with their manager Craig Tarry who all tragically died whilst on tour in 2016.

Viola Beach were a band with the world at their feet, already receiving a huge amount of attention from a loyal following and the BBC in the form of a Maida Vale BBC Introducing session and Radio 1 playlistings. The band had been selected to play at SXSW in Texas and had headlined a sold-out gig at London’s Koko not to mention support slots with Blossoms and appearances at Reading and Leeds Festivals. In short Viola Beach were going places before their promising careers were cut so tragically short.

Rivfest exists to provide a platform for emerging artists and to provide support for talented young musicians looking to take the first steps in their own musical and artistic careers. Each year the River Reeves Charitable foundation awards scholarships of up to £500 to enable struggling or disadvantaged young artists to “create alternate futures”, a phrase coined by Coldplay’s Chris Martin during their 2016 Glastonbury headline set which paid tribute to Viola Beach.

Proceeds from Rivfest 18 will go to the “Future in Mind” bus project in partnership with Arriva North-West, providing mental health support in local schools (see additional bus info provided below)

The Parr Hall, in Warrington’s Cultural quarter hosts this year’s main stage with a capacity of 1100. Additional stages will be hosted in a number of venues all within a few minutes walk of the Parr Hall including:

Friars Court

The Lounge (where Viola Beach worked, rehearsed and performed)

The Acoustic Cafe

The Auction Rooms

The Old Town House

Hernando’s Hideaway

The Volstead

Hop Co


Plus a special fundraising event hosted by Appleton Thorn Village Hall.


Rivfest is a truly family friendly festival. At the heart of the festival outside the Parr Hall is The “Viola Beach Garden Party” in Queen’s Gardens. A huge variety of stalls, crafts, activities and entertainments especially for families and children including live music and storytelling.

Under 16s are welcome at the Parr Hall and Friars court  if accompanied by an adult. The Acoustic Cafe is an all ages venue. Some age restrictions may be in place at other venues due to individual licensing restrictions.  Full guidance on age restrictions and time limitations at Rivfest Main stages will be available at


The River Reeves Foundation (RRF) is working closely with ELEVEN High Schools and two colleges across Warrington to provide bespoke social and emotional wellbeing training for secondary education and post-16 staff in Warrington as part of Warrington’s Future in Mind (FiM) project. The RRF has developed a fantastic partnership with Arriva North West and we are looking to deploy our first specially customised FiM Bus into schools from September 2018.

Lisa Pearson, Head of Marketing for Arriva North West and Wales said: “We are honoured to have provided and customised the Future in Mind bus for The River Reeves Foundation. It’s a cause that we have been involved with for a while now and we hope that the bus really makes a difference to the young people of Warrington”

To do this we need to raise £30,000 to cover transport and staffing costs for the first year of the project. A specialist 11-19 Early Help Support Counsellor will provide both the training that staff will require as well as providing much needed support for the most vulnerable young people in our schools and colleges.

For more information on the River Reeves Foundation and to see the full lineup and book your tickets for RivFest18 head to the website here.

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