Report by Maria Kamptner and Mathias Haas, Vienna, Austria:
“Fight the flames of ignorance” was the slogan and theme of this years 20th Life Ball in Vienna. It is one of the craziest charity events around the world. Every new year thousands of people try to catch a glimpse of this one and only colorful and vibrant event at the city hall square of Vienna, so as this May,19th.
This event is supported by many celebrities from all around the world and to help spread the word of how dangerous HIV and AIDS are. For outsiders it looks like a big party held by maniacs but in reality these maniacs generate moreover 2.1 mil.â‚¬ donations for aid projects against HIV and AIDS, and stimulate public awareness for the disease.
Everybody around the world is invited to take part at this major event. It became tradition to dress up as crazy and extravagant as possible according to the theme. This makes the ball one of a kind gala. The opening ceremony includes moments of silence and speeches by international stars, partners and politicians as Bill Clinton, who became a patron of the Life Ball. One of the numerous highlights, which has become a real tradition, is the fashion show aligned to the Life Ball theme, taking place at the Red Ribbon stage. This show is accentuated by the huge amount of celebrities (designers, actors, musicians, politicians, and models) who show their personal commitment to the issue with breathtaking live performances and sending a strong signal of solidarity over the globe. They make use of their popularity and position as role models for a good cause.
Until 2008, the Life Ball could be viewed free of charge on city hall square, which could accommodate 45,000 people; in 2009, however, access to the first part of the opening ceremony was limited to those who had tickets to the Ball itself and a viewers’ stand was built for those who wanted to follow the opening ceremony. Guests can dance in the various terraces and rooms of the city hall as they enjoy the offerings of the many bars and buffets.
The Life Ball is the largest charity event against AIDS in Europe and is organized by the nonprofit organization AIDS LIFE. This glamorous charity event is known far beyond the Austrian borders today: By now, over 60 TV stations and a total of 500 national and international media representatives cover the event each year. Every year an unbelievable event ends with a bang and many donations to give to fight HIV and AIDS around the world.