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RivFest 2018 – Music Festival

Former headteacher Ben Dunne, from Warrington, set up RivFest in memory of his 19-year-old son, who died along with band mates Kristian Leonard, Jack Dakin and Tomas Lowe and manager Craig Tarry while on tour in Sweden in 2016.

The event boasts an impressive lineup of established and emerging artists and bands including Fickle Friends, The Lottery Winners, Fuzzy Sun, The Mysterines, Danteville, Y.O.U.N.G and The Voice winner Mo Jamil.

Fickle Friends recently played at the Neighbourhood Weekender festival before huge acts including Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Editors and DMAs, while The Lottery Winners recently announced their major record deal with Warner Brothers Records.

Artists will play in multiple venues around Warrington’s Cultural Quarter over a two day period from Friday 13th July.

RivFest set to host 10,000 people

As well as live music the festival will feature a free family friendly area including a huge variety of stalls, crafts, activities and entertainment suitable for children. The event will give visitors a flavour of what to expect ahead of RivFest 2019, which is set to host 10,000 people.


Proceeds from the event will go to the River Reeves Foundation, which aims to support young people from disadvantaged backgrounds as they pursue careers in the arts.

Each year the 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 this year’s event will go to the foundation’s Future in Mind bus initiative in partnership with Arriva North West, providing mental health support in local schools.

Viola Beach and RivFest

Ben Dunne said: “Viola Beach were a band with the world at their feet. They had a loyal following and were going places before their lives were cut so tragically short.

“After River died we as a family wanted to do something special to honour him and to keep his memory alive. River had big dreams, and so do many young people who want to pursue careers in music, but many of them are held back by financial restraints.

“We founded the River Reeves Foundation in 2016, and since then we have awarded scholarships to eight aspiring artists, and we want to keep growing the foundation every year so we can support as many young people as possible.

“RivFest has become an important event on Warrington’s cultural calendar and is vital for us to continue the work we do. River loved a party and he loved live music, so a music festival in his hometown showcasing local bands is the perfect way to honour his memory.

“Warrington has a thriving music scene yet most of the homegrown bands have to venture further afield to Liverpool, Manchester and beyond to make their voices heard. RivFest aims to bring the best emerging talent from across the North West to Warrington for two days of live music.

“We’re right in the middle of Liverpool and Manchester and musically that’s what defines us as a town. We get the best of both worlds with the UK’s most iconic music scenes practically on our doorstep, so RivFest is the perfect opportunity for us to invite our neighbours to our town for once.

“The past two RivFests have been simply amazing, with people of all ages coming together to dance, sing and get merry to some fantastic bands and musicians. We are looking forward to welcoming more visitors at this year’s festival.”

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