The Austrian capital is one of the most tolerant and gay friendly cities anywhere in Europe. Gay and lesbian events are supported by the city council, and weeks before the Rainbow Parade gets under way the capital’s trams are decked out with rainbow flags.
Held at the start of the year, the Rainbow Ball is the classic gay and lesbian ball and one of the out-and-out highlights on the annual society calendar. Formal evening wear is de rigueur at this popular event. The Kreativball has come a long way since its modest beginnings: nowadays this alternative event for gays, lesbians and their friends is usually sold out long before the big night. The only part of the Rose Ball (Feb 27, 2014) that reflects Viennese ball tradition is the fact that it opens with a traditional Polonaise. This outlandish disco is a popular alternative to the Opera Ball, which takes place on the same night at the State Opera House. But that’s where the similarities end – attending the Rosenball is something of a political statement.
Spring 2014 will also see the third instalment of the Festwochen schamloser Kultur (FSK) festival where exceptional artists such as Georgette Dee & Terry Truck, Barbara Spitz 'n' Band, Ian Harvie and The Umbilical Brothers will cast a cabaret-inspired spell on Vienna. The Life Ball (May 31, 2014) is Europe’s wildest – and highest grossing – AIDS/HIV charity event. In 2014 the event’s moniker is Love is a Bloom Growing Anywhere, and it will be inspired by a Garden of Earthly Delights. The Life Ball gets under way with a spectacular, free fashion show on Rathausplatz featuring creations by top international couturiers. Afterwards, anyone lucky enough to come by tickets for the main event go inside City Hall to celebrate one of the city’s wildest nights. Last year’s VIP guests included Bill Clinton, Sir Elton John, Hilary Swank, Melanie Griffith and Karolina Kurkova.
Vienna Pride and the Rainbow Parade (Jun 11-15, 2014) are the absolute highlights of the gay and lesbian year in Vienna. The tent city on Rathausplatz making up the Pride Village offers a mix of cultural activities, stage shows, fine food, information and parties. Meanwhile, the Rainbow Parade on June 14, 2014 will take to the Ringstrasse boulevard once again this year, issuing a renewed call for tolerance and equal opportunities. After the post-parade demonstration, Vienna’s clubs will open their doors for an unforgettable party night lasting until the sun comes up.
The organisers of Wien in Schwarz (Vienna in Black) will be back again with the Vienna Fetish Spring festival from June 18-22, 2014. The evening’s entertainment include the presentation of the Mr. Leather Austria award. The Rosa Wiesn-Fest at the Wiener Wiesn-Fest (Vienna’s answer to Oktoberfest) serves up a whole evening of Lederhosen and Dirndl fun for the city’s gay and lesbian community. Live music, down to earth cuisine and great stage shows set the scene for a night to remember. There is more to international leather and fetish meeting Wien in Schwarz (Oct 22-26, 2014) than the obligatory parties; it also features a side program packed with attractions.
- Rainbow Ball, Feb 22, 2014, Parkhotel Schönbrunn, Hietzinger Hauptstrasse 10-14, 1130 Vienna, www.regenbogenball.at
- Kreativball, (took place on Jan 31 and Feb 1, 2014; dates for 2015 not yet announced, Berufsschule Längenfeldgasse, Längenfeldgasse 13-15, 1120 Vienna, www.clubkreativ.at
- Rose Ball, Feb 27, 2014, Palais Auersperg, Auerspergstrasse 1, 1080 Vienna, www.rosenball.eu
- Festwochen schamloser Kultur, Apr 23-May 10, 2014, www.fsk13.org
- Life Ball, May 31, 2014, Rathaus, Friedrich-Schmidt-Platz 1, 1010 Vienna, www.lifeball.org
- Vienna Pride, Jun 11-15, 2014, Rathausplatz, 1010 Vienna, www.viennapride.at
- Rainbow Parade, Jun 14, 2014, Ringstrasse, 1010 Vienna, www.regenbogenparade.at
- Vienna Fetish Spring, Jun 18-22, 2014, www.lmc-vienna.at
- Rosa Wiesn-Fest, Oct 3, 2014, Prater, 1020 Vienna, www.rosawiesn.at
- Wien in Schwarz, Oct 22-26, 2014, www.lmc-vienna.at