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NY concert promoter, exec brings exclusive private gig club to Sarasota

Barry Weisblatt is using his decades of music business exocrine to jumpstart a new business idea: a private concert club.

Barry Weisblatt launched WhiteLeaf Private Concert Club in February and says he's already “ahead of where I thought I would be” in terms of membership sales.
Barry Weisblatt launched WhiteLeaf Private Concert Club in February and says he's already “ahead of where I thought I would be” in terms of membership sales.
Photo by Monica Roman Gagnier
  • Manatee-Sarasota
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Hate all the hassle involved with trying to see your favorite band in concert? So does Barry Weisblatt. That’s why the live entertainment and event production veteran recently launched WhiteLeaf Private Concert Club in Sarasota.

“I’m trying to restore some degree of civility back into the experience,” says Weisblatt, 59. “I’m exhausted by traveling to a show, getting accosted by the security, getting mishandled by ushers and box office people, getting overcharged for bad food and beer, and then getting to my seat only to find that I’m surrounded by a bunch of drunk idiots who are screaming the lyrics in the back of my ears while I’m trying to listen to the artist.”

The private club offers “an opportunity for there to be a really boutique experience between the audience and the artists,” says Weisblatt. WPCC is offering just 275 annual memberships available at three different levels. Gold membership costs $5,500 for a year and gets the member and a guest into three private concerts. Fifty Platinum memberships are available for $7,500, which include extra perks like premium seats and meet-and-greet opportunities with the performers. There’s also a corporate membership option for $17,500 aimed at businesses seeking to entertain clients.

The idea came about after Weisblatt moved to Sarasota in 2019 from the New York City area. In his primary business, WhiteLeaf Events, he designs, produces and manages private and corporate events nationwide, bringing in performers like Paul McCartney, Jerry Seinfeld, Fleetwood Mac, Bon Jovi and Sheryl Crow. That business understandably took a hit during the pandemic, which gave him time to dive into the new place he calls home.

“Sarasota is an amazing marketplace for the arts,” he says. “It has virtually every base covered, and everybody does a fantastic job. But I felt like the one thing that was missing here was a mid-level music hall, a listening room that’s sort of like a smaller version of a House of Blues. 

“I felt it was ridiculous to have to get into my car and drive to Clearwater, St. Pete, Tampa, or, God forbid, Orlando to go see my favorite band,” he continues. “There is room for hundreds of artists to come who can’t necessarily sell 1,800 tickets at the Van Wezel but should still be playing this marketplace…But they don’t play Sarasota because there’s no place for them to play.”

Weisblatt, opportunity in hand, says he “spent the next couple of years driving around Sarasota, looking at warehouses, looking at property, looking at old buildings. And I just couldn’t find anything.”

Though a music hall is still a long-term goal, he shifted gears to the concept of a private concert club. After researching the idea and talking with people in the community, he concluded the area had the affluence to support it and that residents, including many new ones like him, were looking for these kinds of experiences. 

WPCC launched in February and Weisblatt is already “ahead of where I thought I would be” in terms of membership sales. He expects the club’s first concert to take place in fall 2024, with the Circus Arts Conservatory’s Sailor Circus Arena likely serving as the venue for the first series of concerts.

Expect names like the artists he’s worked with before; lining up the performers will be the easy part, says Weisblatt. “They’re chomping at the bit, waiting for offers from me,” he says. “I’ve been in the business for 37 years now…I’ve been doing business with all the major agencies for my entire career, and all these guys are all very excited about this.”

Prospective members must apply to be part of the concert club and find their way there by invitation or word of mouth from other members. Weisblatt is also producing a monthly concert series at McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre in Sarasota, where special celebrity guests perform with a house band he’s assembled. Two hundred tickets are available to the general public, and 50 are reserved for club members and their guests. 

“So I’m providing musically an amazing evening of entertainment that this town clearly has an extremely large taste for,” he says. “And at the same time, we are branding and marketing the concert club in a very kind of organic way.”

There’s potential to launch the club in other cities down the road. “My feeling is it needs to go to a smaller town that’s affluent and that has close proximity to a large city, but it’s inconvenient to go and out see your favorite artist play,” he says. “And I think there’s towns like that all over America.”

Weisblatt’s experience and reputation in the entertainment and events industry should serve him well in this new venture, especially in his keen understanding of relationships. “Relationships are maintained based on integrity,” he says. “And the key to developing relationships is that you do what you say. You follow through, and that’s how you develop trust. That’s why 50% of my business is referral business straight back from the agencies that represent the entertainment.”

Passion drives Weisblatt, and he’s learned to “laugh at no.” “If you’re going to crumble every time somebody says no or says you can’t do something, you’re going to have a real tough time,” he says. “You have got to be dogged in whatever your vision is, and you have to stay determined and undeterred. If you can develop a thick enough skin for that, then you will be successful.”



Beth Luberecki

Nokomis-based freelance writer Beth Luberecki, a Business Observer contributor, writes about business, travel and lifestyle topics for a variety of Florida and national publications. Her work has appeared in publications and on websites including Washington Post’s Express, USA Today, Florida Trend, and Learn more about her at

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