The Gay and Lesbian Ball Season in Vienna
It’s impossible to imagine Vienna’s annual event line-up without the immensely popular returning highlights of the gay and lesbian community calendar. The most traditional ball of them is the Rainbow Ball, code dress: black tie (pink tie goes trough as well).
The most prominent ball for decades has been the Lifeball, an internationally acknowledged HIV and AIDS charity held in Vienna's neo-gothic city hall. Invented by Gerry Keszler, Lifeball has attracted international stars and politicians to Vienna and has largely contributed to the funding of HIV and AIDS organizations in Austria and elsewhere. Unfortunately, there will be no more Lifeball in the forseeable future, but there are plenty of other possibilities where one can let out his inner Johann Strauss.
Anyone who still believes that Viennese waltzing is the exclusive preserve of the straight crowd has got another think coming! The Rainbow Ball took the traditional Viennese ball format and put its own spin on it for the capital’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender scene, and their friends and families. This annual get-together at the Parkhotel Schönbrunn is still a smart affair that plays out according to time-honoured Viennese traditions, and formal attire is an absolute must. But the Rainbow Ball is also an important celebration of gay and lesbian culture, with the profits from the evening going to various projects run by Hosi (Homosexuelle Initiative) Wien.
Diversity Ball has become more popular over the years. It usually takes place at Kursalon Wien, where many composers and orchestras have entertained the Viennese 200 years ago, the Strauss family included. The ball is dedicated to inclusion and is determined to bring together minority groups according to gender, religion, ethnicity, disabilities, age and sexual orientation and identity. It has become the little sister of Lifeball.
The Kreativball has come on leaps and bounds since its modest beginnings: these days this alternative event for gays, lesbians and their friends is usually sold out long before the big night.
At the Rose Ball, the only part that remains completely true to the classic Viennese ball format is the opening with a traditional Polonaise. Glamorous outfits or evening wear are an absolute must for this event at Palais Auersperg. This outlandish disco is an 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.