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Cabaret on Ruby Island


The legendary Cabaret is returning after an absence of 80 years.

The legendary Cabaret of last century is returning to Ruby Island in Lake Wanaka this summer, after an absence of 80 years.

Lake Wanaka SouNZ Inc., which runs the successful Rippon Festivals and Sounz Forza Workshops, has been granted consent to recreate the 1920s parties which have arguably reached folklore status within the Otago region. Organisers are hoping that Cabaret on Ruby can be a regular event every second year.

Between 1928 and 1932, the infamous Ruby Island Cabaret ran through the summertime, on Saturday nights. Recollections from former launch master James Weavers (now deceased), detail the first Cabaret on the island where “people were dancing on the well-sprung floor”* which used a base of car tyres for ulitmate dancing pleasure.

With all profits going to Ruby Island Trust, Cabaret on Ruby is scheduled for February 3rd next year, and  will take place on the original dance floor at the top of the Island. Two hundred people will be ferried to and from the island to enjoy the 5-hour event. A stage is to be built on the original kitchen site where an 8-piece ragtime band will entertain the first guests at a public event on the island since 1932.

In an attempt to keep the event true to its 1920s origins, food, beverages, music will be of the era, and guests to the island are encouraged to seek out befitting attire.
“It’s an absolute privilege to restage this event, and the feedback from the community has been overwhelming,” says Lake Wanaka SouNZ Inc director, Lynne Christie, who adds that people from around the region have been sharing their knowledge and memories of the Island.

Organisers are keen to hear any recollections of Ruby Island, especially memories which date back prior to 1950. Audio recordings and photographs will make up part of an audio-visual zone on the island.

Tickets for Cabaret on Ruby go on sale on December 10th and are limited to 200.


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