On Saturday, June 2nd, thousands gathered at Vienna City Hall for the 25th Anniversary of Life Ball, which included a star-studded LIFE+ Solidarity Gala, red carpet arrivals and action-packed Opening Ceremony. The worldwide televised spectacle presented by LIFE+ included messages of support, love, and acceptance along with a call to action to fight the taboo of HIV and AIDS in society, normalizing all HIV facilities and becoming part of the comprehensive health care, and to make knowing one’s immune status as natural as knowing one’s blood type.
VIPs in attendance included Paris Jackson who received the LIFE+ Award on behalf of the Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation (ETAF), Patti LaBelle who performed her Grammy Hall of Fame hit single, “Lady Marmalade” and a rendition of “Do-Re-Mi” as part of the themed program, amfAR’s EpicRide to Life Ball riders Adrien Brody, Ian Bohen, JR Bourne, Michiel Huisman, Gilles Marini and Katee Sackhoff, in addition to celebrity guests and participants including Caitlyn Jenner, Sophia Hutchins, Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Osbourne, Kim Petras, Gigi Gorgeous, Nats Getty, August Getty, Yasmine Petty, Jeannie Mai, Patrika Darbo, Gus Kenworthy and more while Austrian superstars Conchita Wurst and Herbert Föttingerpresented the Opening show.
Video messages from Gwen Stefani, Bill Clinton and Elton John were featured during the opening ceremony which carried messages of support for the great work the LIFE+ organization and its international partner organizations have done in the fight against HIV and AIDS for the past 25 years. In addition, Charlize Theron who previously accepted the Swarovski Crystal of Hope Award on behalf of the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project on Thursday in Vienna, also appeared via video as part of the opening ceremony.
This year’s LIFE BALL signature fashion show, curated by Robert Rabensteiner, featured new and archival pieces from 25 fashion houses presenting their ideas for the most beautiful day in life (wedding day) including stalwarts like Jean Paul Gaultier, Alberta Ferretti, Missoni, Roberto Cavalli, Dsquared2, N°21, Maison Schiaparelli, Vivienne Westwood, Thom Browne, Francesco Scognamiglio, Blumarin, Elie Saab, Diesel, Emilio Pucci, Kenzo Memento, Vionnet, Viktor & Rolf, Lavin, and Tostmann Trachten. Gigi Gorgeous wore one of the featured designs and walked the runway with Nats Getty and this year’s models.
Earlier in the evening, Caitlyn Jenner and Sophia Hutchins along with other VIP guests attended the exclusive black-tie baroque-wedding themed LIFE+ Solidarity Gala which featured a Moët & Chandon champagne reception, a live auction of selected and unique items as well as special music performances by Rufus Wainwright and Patti Labelle.
Additional highlights include:
On Saturday morning, LIFE BALL founder and organizer Gery Keszler hosted an international press conference at the Albertina Museum. The moderated discussion included partner organization spokespersons as well as the amfAR riders including Adrien Brody who expressed their commitments to the cause and highlight the activities of the supported projects. Video of Brody’s remarks can be viewed here. In addition, an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at Paris Jackson’s photoshoot for the Know Your Status was revealed as she joined Aiden Shaw and Eva Herzigová in the advertorial campaign.
On Friday, June 1st, LIFE BALL held a Welcome Reception for the weekend’s celebrity VIPs at the Le Meridien hotel and included Paris Jackson, Cailtyn Jenner, Gus Kenworthy, Kelly Osbourne, Gigi Gorgeous, and more.
On Friday, June 1st LIFE+ Celebration Concert took place at Vienna’s Burgtheater. The concert featured international opera stars, legendary singers and outstanding spoken performances by award-winning actors and doyens of the Burgtheater.
The LIFE BALL Next Gen Party closed out the festivities on Sunday June 3rd at Vienna’s City Hall including a panel discussion and hip party targeting HIV/AIDS awareness with teenagers 16 years and older.
ABOUT LIFE BALL:
Life Ball was the first AIDS charity event worldwide to take place in a governmental building, the Vienna City Hall, which still remains the ball’s venue. Since its premiere in 1993, Life Ball has been actively fighting the taboo of HIV and AIDS in society. Thus, life is celebrated at a glamorous party every year during Life Ball. Furthermore, discrimination and intolerance are rejected, and a loud signal for the fight against HIV and AIDS is transmitted, which may be heard far beyond national boundaries.
Life Ball has been organized by AIDS LIFE, now named LIFE+, an independent non-profit association founded in 1992. Its mission: to raise public awareness for HIV and AIDS, to light a beacon of solidarity with people affected by HIV/AIDS and to generate as much funds as possible to support help-projects in the world’s most affected regions.
The https://lifeplus.org/en/know-your-status-2/ Campaign is also a focal point of LIFE+ year-round initiatives. The campaign’s goal is to make knowing one’s immune status as natural as knowing one’s blood type. Only those who regularly check their immune status can get timely treatment or appropriate preventive care and stop unknowingly spreading the virus to others. Through Life Ball and additional yearly activities, LIFE+ works to raise funds to help those impacted by and living with HIV/AIDS and reduce stigma and discrimination.
As Austria’s biggest fund-raiser for HIV/AIDS projects, LIFE+ and its work has gained an important status on an international level as well. In the report Philanthropic Support to Address HIV/AIDS in 2016 by Funders Concerned About AIDS, LIFE+ was ranked 13th of all European fundraisers.
For more information on Life Ball, please click here.