Jim Digby, Co-Founder and President, Founder, Event Safety Alliance, Show Makers

Jim Digby
– Jim Digby

The Caretakers

Executives making the right moves to keep careers, companies, shows, the business, rolling. Operators as opposed to architects.

Jim Digby
Co-Founder and President, Founder, Event Safety Alliance, Show Makers  

Jim Digby has a longstanding history of making the show happen as a respected tour and production manager, which also means preventing the tragic and avoiding danger.

“The impact of the Indiana State Fair stage roof collapse in 2011, where seven people were needlessly killed, became the impetus to create the Event Safety Alliance,” Digby says.  “Being one of the co-founders and subsequent President of the ESA has helped to create a new generation of responsible, risk-aware event professionals that will result in a safer future for the industry at large.”  The Event Safety Alliance has been a crucial resource during the coronavirus pandemic, and has released its own reopening guidelines for the industry, which has been mostly shut down since March. 

With so much uncertain, Digby, whose Show Makers Symposium provides a platform for the production industry,  says the industry will need to adapt and get used to a new normal.

“Many will try, but it’s likely that where the industry was pre-COVID will likely not return until well after a vaccine is available. Until that time, I suggest we examine the way we had been doing business and challenge the status quo to develop improved methodologies for whatever the next iteration becomes.”

Digby cites as mentors Bugzee Houghdahl, Morris Lyda and Bill Silva as mentors in the business but has likewise taken just as much inspiration from a notable client and popular band of the last 20 years. 

“Mike Shinoda and Chester Bennington of Linkin Park.  The vision of the band transformed the vision of the crew,” says Digby, who worked with the band in its earliest days.  “Their standards of excellence, the practice of making live music as a business instead of a playground, and their high ethical standards permeated the Linkin Park ecosystem. They helped define a high level of professionalism and a desire to create and maintain a healthy road family. ” 

Hot Takes

The show that changed your life? 

The birth of our children.

Artist to watch breaking in the next year? 

We still haven’t seen the full story of what Billie Eilish is capable of.

Technology most impacting your daily work or personal life? 

Everything Apple, Microsoft 365, and iPhone.

Best/worst career-related advice you’ve received?

Best = “inspire the team with genuine care and concern and there is nothing you can’t get through” – “save and invest your money”

Worst = “COVID is just another flu.”

The best live show you saw this year? 

Mike Shinoda – Post Traumatic Tour

Your favorite venue to see a show at and why? 

Tied: Susquehanna Bank Center – it’s where our family goes to see shows and Curt Voss is a great host.

Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion – Because of Jeff Young and Kelly Rich.

The role of live-streaming going forward?

No doubt live-streaming has earned its place as an integral part of our industry. We haven’t seen the extent to which it can and will impact all of us.