This year’s Vienna Pride, held under the banner of Proud by Choice, will take place from June 11-15, 2014. The city of tents on Rathausplatz making up the Pride Village offers a mix of cultural activities, stage shows, fine food and information in the heart of the city. Countless gay and lesbian bars in the capital will keep visitors fed and watered, while a sandy beach with deckchairs provides the perfect place to chill out between 11am and 10pm. In addition to party music, there is also plenty of information on the Viennese community on offer.
Vienna Pride culminates on June 14, 2014 with the Rainbow Parade, a high-profile public statement against discrimination of all kinds. Each year around 100,000 gays, lesbians, drag queens and leather boys, plus the transgender party crowd take to the Ringstrasse boulevard on floats, bikes, horse-drawn carriages or their own two feet. At 2pm the carnival sets sail from Rathausplatz along the ring in the opposite direction to the usual flow of traffic. After completing a full circuit, the parade returns to Rathausplatz before the party continues in countless venues throughout the capital.
Held inside Vienna City Hall, the Life Ball on May 31, 2014 is one of the largest AIDS charity events worldwide. The Life Ball has struck upon a typically imaginative theme for its 22nd instalment: in 2014 the glamorous party will be loosely based on Hieronymus Bosch’s famous triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights. Love is a Bloom Growing Anywhere is the inspirational slogan for the night, which aims to celebrate the topic of earthly desire in all its glory and as an element that brings people together – a Garden of Eden before the fall and banishment from paradise. Outlandish costumes are de rigueur, with the Life Ball Style Bible, which is published months ahead of the big night, providing a rich source of inspiration.
Vienna’s Life Ball isn’t a stand-alone event, but part of a wider programme of highlights. The night before the main party, the Burgtheater will host the Red Ribbon Celebration Concert featuring opera and musical stars, and readings by acclaimed actors from the famous theatre. Before the grand opening, UNAIDS and AIDS LIFE will stage the Aids Solidarity Gala, an exclusive banquet and live auction at the Hofburg Vienna held under the patronage of the Austrian president. The free opening ceremony on Rathausplatz gets underway with a parade of the most original costumes followed by a spectacular catwalk show lasting around two hours with a line-up of international A-listers and the latest collections by top fashion designers. Afterwards the 3,780 ticket holders will head inside the beautifully decorated City Hall for one of Vienna’s wildest party nights. Lasting until 5am, it will feature live acts, stage performances and a host of culinary surprises.
Fighting AIDS and Celebrating Life is the overarching philosophy behind the Life Ball, which was set up as a source of financial support to be used in the fight against HIV and AIDS, and stand out as a beacon of solidarity in action. In 2013 the event contributed a record EUR 2.43 million to AIDS projects in Austria and abroad. The fight against HIV/AIDS is a huge challenge: the United Nations wants to halt the spread of HIV/AIDS and bring about a reversal in infection rates by 2015. In 1993 the Life Ball became the first AIDS charity event anywhere in the world to be hosted in a government building. Vienna City Hall is still the location of this opulent ball night to this day.