Special/Signature Issues » Top 40 Under 40

Jeff Sadler, 39


General Manager
Toad's Place

Ever since he was a kid, Jeff Sadler has loved live music. There's something alluring about the concert setting, that ghost of electricity howling in the air just before showtime, that's stayed with him.

For the last 15 years, Sadler has been behind the scenes as a music promoter at radio stations and numerous venues around town, and it's all culminated in his post as general manager of the new, high-quality venue and welcome addition to Shockoe Bottom, Toad's Place.

"It's not about having his name in lights -- it's about the reflection of the lights in the eyes of the crowd," writes Amanda Vance, who works with Sadler.

It can be a thankless job, and Sadler has logged plenty of volunteer hours, too. He was an early supporter of WRIR community radio, helped put on its birthday bash and hosted a late-night radio show. Through it all, the odd hours of working in the music scene have been rough. Sadler says he couldn't have done any of it without his wife, an award-winning teacher in the Fan. The couple just had their first child.

"There are always 100 reasons not to do something," Sadler says, "but really you just need one reason and guts." Sadler says the payoff is doing what he loves, seeing direct results at the end of the day through the happy faces in the crowd, and getting to hang out with his son during the mornings.

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