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Our man in Vienna: Volunteering at the Life Ball

Last updated May 29th, 2015

A career in event management can pick you up and drop you in a city miles away, not sure of the brief until you meet the client. You may also find yourself on the red carpet among celebrities like Jean Paul Gaultier and unexpectedly providing a voice over for a star studded concert. Or so William Lazenby tells us about his experience of volunteering at the Life Ball held in Vienna on 16th May.
William recently completed a diploma in Event Management with us here at Event Academy and applied for the amazing opportunity to travel to Vienna and work as part of the events team for the Life Ball. This is the largest AIDS charity event in the world and believe me it is a spectacular, colourful and exotic affair.
Arriving on Tuesday 12, a full 4 days ahead of the event, William was kept busy in the run up to the event. The Life Ball attracts huge numbers of collaborators and attendees from the fashion, music and film industries, including Jean Paul Gautier who staged the fashion show as part of the celebrations. Other celebrity guests included Charlize Theron and Mary J. Blige. With high profile supporters and guests involved, it is critical that everything runs smoothly and they have the best experience possible.
What can you expect from volunteering at an event like this? William’s role was as Host to two of the high profile guests and performers, Suzanne Von Aichinger and Ali Mahdavi. Preparation in Vienna involved site visits to all the event locations (Vienna City Hall, the Burgtheater and Hofburg Palace), briefings for all the event hosts on various aspects of the role and, of course, finally meeting his two guests. William was busy liaising with the guests and the organisers of the individual performances to make sure his two VIPs were kept completely informed about the latest updates to their schedules.
This included rehearsals, sound checks, co-ordinating costume changes back at the hotel, travelling with his guests to ensure they were fully looked after and a lot of time spent working backstage as part of the team making sure the fashion show, concerts and after parties all unfolded perfectly. Part of William’s job actually included walking down the red carpet with his charges. He said
“… it was a nuts red carpet! With the AIDS awareness theme and celebrities involved, it was a cross between a film premiere and a gay pride procession …”
Of course, William was buzzing when he told us all about it after he got back. Everyone involved is volunteering their time (even the stars!) and as a result everyone was really friendly and the atmosphere was great with everyone working together to make this charity event an eccentric and exotic night to remember.
As if that weren’t enough, William also got to feature as part of the fashion show. With a James ‘Blond’ theme for the show, the organisers needed an English male voice to contribute to the voice over. As one of the few volunteers with an English accent, William landed the role and his voice was used. He has been busy trying to find footage of his brush with stardom on YouTube ever since.
If you are interested in training and a career that doesn’t just pay lip service to being part of something way bigger than you dreamed, but actually delivers on it through volunteering opportunities that will put you in the midst of exciting events then take a look at our courses. We offer opportunities to all our students to find relevant work experience and meet useful contacts at some of the most exciting events in the world.
Who knows, you could find yourself on the red carpet …

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