Music scene unites to pay tribute to Harley Poyner

Harley Poyner playing in his band at The Joiners
Harley Poyner playing in his band at The Joiners
  • Four bands will play tonight at the Harley Poyner tribute gig
  • Harley died aged 20 after fighting leukaemia
  • Money raised will go to The Teenage Cancer Trust
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FAMILY and friends of a young musician who died after a three-and-a-half-year battle with leukaemia are planning to pay him a fittingly loud tribute.

There is a fundraising gig tonight at The Wedgewood Rooms in Albert Road, Southsea, where some of the local scene’s noisier bands will be playing in memory of Harley Poyner.

He put up really tough fight for a long time. What kept him going was his music – he lived for his music

Mark Poyner, Harley’s dad

During his treatment the 20-year-old, from Southsea, endured numerous rounds of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and a stem cell transplant.

Sean Kelly, vocalist with Networks, has organised the gig. He first met Harley when he managed his then-band, Modern Giants, and the two became good friends. The 27-year-old said: ‘Harley changed the way I looked at younger bands because he was so dedicated.

‘He was 17 and I was 23 at the time, and I was jealous because he was already such a talented musician.

‘His passion for music screamed out to everyone and he would always help other people out. He was mature beyond his years.

‘All the other local bands knew him because he was going to their gigs and supporting them, when his health let him.

‘He never got the chance to be a touring musician, travelling the world and playing music, which is what he wanted to do. We just want to pay tribute to him in the best way possible.’

When Harley died on May 29, aged 20, the end came suddenly.

‘I spoke with Harley three days before he passed and he was fine. It came out of nowhere,’ said Sean.

Harley’s dad Mark Poyner, 44, from Hilsea, said: ‘He put up a really tough fight for a long time.

‘What kept him going was his music – he lived for his music.’

Money raised from the evening will go to The Teenage Cancer Trust, which funds the unit at Southampton General Hospital where Harley was treated.

Mark added: ‘The nurses there were brilliant, and he made some good friends during his time on the ward.

Bands due to play include Prolong The Agony, Networks, Seething Akira and Forever in Depths. Tickets are £5, doors open at 7pm this evening.

Go to or call the box office on (023) 9286 3911.