the cactus club

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A History - the beginnings

5th July 1993 - The Cactus Club

London’s first gay line and partner dance club begins at The Bell in King’s Cross with deejay Jo Purvis and instructor Peter Flockhart.

1994 - The Cactus Club and Lines & Squares

Peter and Nick begin LINES AND SQUARES, a line and square dancing tuition night on Tuesdays at The Bell.
THE CACTUS CLUB goes twice weekly on Mondays and Fridays.
Other gay line dance clubs begin to appear in London and across the country as the line dance craze takes off nationally.
Nick keeps his hand in teaching and dee-jaying regularly for BRIGHTON RAWHIDE and MIDNIGHT COWBOYS dance weekends, and helps launch PRAIRIE DOGS in Manchester, the only other gay line dance club in the UK still in existence today.
BIG BEAR COUNTRY, an early attempt at a bear’s line dance night, is launched by Nick and Peter at THE FATHER REDCAP in Camberwell, but fails to take off,  and only lasts a few weeks.

Nick, aka DJ Cowbear (and formerly known as Redneck Nick), co-founder, DJ and dance instructor at Lines & Bears since 1995

1995 - The Cactus Club to Lines and Bears

The Cactus Club is forced to close when The Bell ceases to operate as a gay venue.

Nick is approached by Duggy, secretary of Bears Club UK, with a view to starting line dance classes for their members. When we are offered a regular night on Tuesdays at Duke’s we decide that rather than merely holding classes we will launch a new weekly dance night aimed at bears and their buddies

Tuesday 25th April

LINES & BEARS first weekly club night held at Duke’s


Lines & Bears is one of the founder member clubs of the COUNTRY & WESTERN CLUB ASSOCIATION (CWCA),  a membership club formed by the leading gay C&W dance clubs around the country at the time


Lines & Bears co-host a post-Pride dance night held in the church hall opposite Duke’s


Nick co-deejays the line dancing for the first time at BRIGHTON PRIDE

31st October


1st November

Nick launches ‘Blazing Saddles’ on Wednesdays at the Royal Oak in Hammersmith which runs for around a year

19th December

LINES & BEARS 1ST CHRISTMAS PARTY including cabaret from Tina C


13TH Feb

COUNTRY CUDDLE Valentine’s Eve Party

20th April

Lines & Bears launch their monthly Saturday night REDNECK RODEO dance at the Rivoli Ballroom, which runs for the next 5 years

23rd April


18th June


6th July

PRIDE ’96 on Clapham Common sees all London’s gay C&W deejays appear on stage together for the first time ever

3rd August

Lines & Bears organise the line dancing at the first SUMMER RITES festival held in Kennington Park


Nick is the host deejay at BRIGHTON PRIDE

10th September



Lines & Bears launch COWBEAR CONNECTION, a monthly Sunday dance afternoon at Duke’s which runs for the next six months.

Our history ends there but we keep going as the cactus club. See also Borderlines history