Interview with Graham Wood – Director of The Ellington Jazz Club

Located on 191 Beaufort Street, Perth, Western Australia, The Ellington Jazz Club provides an array of jazz and contemporary talent in an intimate environment. Artists/ bands who have performed at The Ellington Jazz Club include

  • Jamie Oehlers
  • Libby Hammer
  • Carl Mackey
  • Helen Shanahan
  • Sydnee Carter
  • And so many more

Having spoken with Graham Wood late last week, he has provided me with incite into owning a business within the music industry. 4 questions were asked and he provided awesome answers for each. Questions and answers are as follows

  1. What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of owning The Ellington Jazz Club?

Graham’s advantages were that it he wanted an opportunity to showcase local musicians and provide a good environment to do so. His disadvantages were

  • High risk
  • A lot of work and planning
  • Having a benchmark for musician playing standards
  • Keeping an eye on reality versus the music industry
  1. What motivated you to start The Ellington Jazz Club?

Graham’s motivation for opening The Ellington Jazz Club was due to a lack of venues within Perth who don’t play non-rock music.

  1. What are the major difficulties in owning The Ellington Jazz Club?

Graham stated quite a few different reasons as to what the difficulties of owning The Ellington Jazz Club. These are

  • As a live performance venue Graham is trapped between being close to city and accessibility to the venue
  • Cost of rent versus the location. The closer The Ellington Jazz Club gets to Perth CBD the more rent costs, however on the other hand being to far away from Perth CBD means that traffic in and out of the venue is potentially compromised.
  • Never ends. There is never a night off
  • Always has to be music, audience and staff within the venue
  • The Ellington Jazz Club has to be successful most nights in order for it to continue keeping its doors open
  • Artistically, The Ellington Jazz Club has to occasionally compromise and play commercial music to provide what people want
  1. What do you consider to be key personal attributes required for small business owners?

Graham provides a few great points that are required for small business owners of venues. These are

  • Have to have strategic vision & plan
  • Goal about what you are doing. This goal needs to be communicated to staff and the audience
  • Have good brand
  • Ensure that marketing and business plans are in place
  • Venue owners have to be in it for long hall

Listening to Graham speak about The Ellington Jazz Club, it is clear that he puts a lot of time and effort into ensuring that Perth has an amazing venue for musicians to play at.

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