Life Ball in Vienna, Austria

One of the most extravagant fundraisers in the world and Europe’s biggest HIV/AIDS benefit, the Life Ball shakes up the Viennese ball tradition, adds a modern twist, and serves an incomparable cocktail of glamor, fantasy, and philanthropy.  Equal parts theatrical performance, fashion show, red carpet event, educational forum and celebration of life, the full fabulousness of Life Ball explodes onto Vienna on May 19, celebrating the event’s 20th Anniversary.

Last year’s event raised a record 1.9 million Euros for HIV/AIDS relief projects worldwide and assembled a group of international spokespersons including President Bill Clinton, Janet Jackson, Brooke Shields, Elton John and Donatella Versace, alongside Austrian political leaders.

Under this year’s slogan, “Fight the Flames of Ignorance,” the two-hour opening celebration and fashion show will feature hundreds of performers and attract more than 40,000 people in extravagant fire-themed costumes on Vienna’s City Hall Square.  This ain’t your typical Halloween parade. Much time, money, skill and creativity go into each of these designs.  To give you an idea, Steele Luxury Travel, the exclusive USA-based tour operator for the Life Ball, hires a designer to take individual’s measurements and create costumes for its entire group.

Once the opening festivities are completed outside, the 3,780 lucky ticket holders head into the historic City Hall for the actual event, dressed in full costume or black tie.  “Once you go inside there are rooms upon rooms of DJs and performances,” says Dane Steele of Steele Luxury Travel.  “You’ll see Amanda Lepore in one room and Katie Perry performing in another room, and about 40 different DJs from all over the world.  You think you’ve seen it all, and then you step into another room and have a completely different experience.  There’s nothing like it in the world.”  Steele’s website goes on to describe the Life Ball as a “phantasmagoria of light and sound, music and dance.”

And most importantly, the glitz and glamor is fabulous for a purpose.   Over the last nineteen years, the Life Ball has raised over 17 million Euros and is currently supporting AIDS projects in 35 countries.

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Life Ball must truly be seen to be believed, catch a glimpse of last year’s event in the video below:

Photos: © Life Ball

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