Vienna’s City Hall Square was transformed into a mythical world of pagan rites and fantastic spectacle on Saturday as the city hosted Europe’s biggest charity event, raising money for AIDS and HIV research, the Lifeball.
As in previous years, the 23rd Life Ball was a free-for all gala with an emphasis on diversity.
Tens of thousands of spectators pushed against barriers to ogle paying guests in formal dress rubbing shoulders with celebrities, party-goers dressed in little more than body paint and cross-dressers in wild costumes.
Top tickets went for 750 euros (850 US dollars) – a price that entitled holders to an all-night party inside the ornate City Hall chambers.
Actress Charlize Theron was among the celebrities in attendance and took the stage to urge continued support both for her South African AIDS charity organisation and the world-wide fight against HIV.
Also there were singers Paula Abdul, Mary J. Blige and Kelly Osbourne, burlesque artist Dita Von Teese, and Conchita Wurst, the Austrian cross-dressing winner of last year’s Eurovision song contest.