It was an occasion to remember with the entire technical and production team under the professional guidance of Jim Digby the highly-skilled Linkin Park Production Manager. The team included Matt Mills – Lighting Director, Skip Twitchell – Video Director, Bill Boyd – Creative Director, Ken Van Druten Front of House, Sean Paden Backline and Chris Wilson Rigger.

Hosts were the South African Roadies Association (SARA) at their downtown SARA House in Newtown, Johannesburg.The team were in Johannesburg, fresh from their fully-packed Cape Town leg of Linkin Parks South African tour. The reason for the gathering was to afford SARA students the opportunity of interacting with the best international staging production teams.
This opportunity was conceptualized in March 2012, at the International Production Meeting of the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) in London, between Jim Digby and SARA president, Freddie Nyathela. SARA are the unsung heroes of the technical and production knowledge and skills development world.
To get into the big time, there is no better learning curve than asking many questions of the top production teams.
Each Linkin Park team member explained their particular background and without exception, each had come through the ranks by sweeping floors, making the coffee and just hanging-out with the pros at the time.
Nothing beats experience and when opportunity arose they helped manage and operate equipment by learning on-the-job. Slowly the rookies gained in confidence while at the same time building the confidence of the production management to give them more responsibility.
Today specialised production individuals earn big bucks and as a team – the family spirit is crucial for good relationships and getting-the-job-done at the most proficient level.
The students asked many different types of questions ranging from equipment to the challenges that can occur behind the scenes.
The Linkin Park production team headed by Jim Digby were prepared to stay all night and it was only due to SARAs Freddie Nyathela calling it a day, after a long three hour session eventually ended.
Many real messages came from the interaction among the highlights were: (1) Never say no (2) Passion is the essential ingredient for success (3) Take pride in your craft and most importantly in yourself.
It was a mix-it session with a difference and one to remember long after the guys have headed for China, Russia or back home Stateside. Freddie Nyathela said it for all of us….come back soon.

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