I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, not every gay festival needs to be a pride festival. While it made my gay heart swell three sizes that day, there’s more to gay festivals than rainbows, parades and boys in short shorts… I mean not much more.
This year, Austria’s Pink Lake Festival celebrated its 10th anniversary, decking out the small town of ‘Velden am Wörthersee’ with pink flags and offering up fun in the sun and general gay merriment.
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3 days of gay
For those of you who haven’t been, the Pink Lake Festival stretches out over 3 days, with themed parties on each night and the day left open to wander the riviera-style town of Velden, or simply sprawl out in the sunshine.
Olly, one of the many gorgeous gays that I met who had flown over from the UK, was more than happy to gush about why this was his third trip to the festival.
“For me there’s an infectious sense of fun about the whole festival. There’s more than a dash of holiday camp about it – with the games at the beach club and the splashing about in the Wörthersee on inflatable flamingos and unicorns. The chance to meet lots of gays from elsewhere in Europe is also really exciting – I’ve met Austrians, Hungarians, Germans, Czechs.
It’s enjoyable being in a minority as a Brit, and being able to find out about gay life across the continent, not just in the established metropoles. Austria is generally beautiful, and Carinthia has some of the best weather. Any event that can bring stunning scenery, reliably pleasant weather and lots of interesting and attractive gay men is bound to be a winner in my book.”
Day 1: Lederhosen night
No gay trip to a German-speaking country would be complete without dressing up in Lederhosen… no straight trip either I imagine. The Lederhosen party kicks off the first night of festivities, located in a sectioned off area of the town square, the little city is awash with gay tourists from the world over, strutting around in the least kinky of get ups you could imagine. And it’s fabulous!
Day 2: Pink & Blue Ball
(As a single gay attending this trip solo and being surrounded by gorgeous Euro-gays, the irony of this night was not lost on me.)
Where the first night was a more casual mingling of gays at sunset, the Pink & Blue Ball got back to our stereotypical roots; piling hundreds of gays into an out-of-use hipster grunge club in an old factory layout. It was exactly how you would picture it, yet still somehow surprisingly civil. With multiple rooms and levels, it’s kind of impossible to find anyone once you lose them, but all the basic staples of a great gay night out were there. Extended dance mixes of your favourite forgotten songs, a dedicated pop room that I did not spend enough time in, and a couple of appearances by Mr. Gay Austria himself.
A complimentary coach will pick you up from town and take you to this weird and wonderful location on the other side of the lake. However, don’t feel that you need to get the first coach there, as I did. I was basically standing around trying to look interested/interesting for 2 hours before the quality crowd rolled in at around 11pm. The coach will also take you back to town. Oooooorrrr, you could catch a disco taxi! What’s a disco taxi I hear you say?
Day 3: The Boat Party!
You can’t have a gay festival on a lake without the obligatory boat party to wrap up the festivities. At 9pm, the first of three loud, pink riverboats comes crawling into town. The ever-subtle presence of blazing pink lights and blaring Euro-Pop music is accompanied by, what I assume are hilarious, German comments from the local drag queen host.
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Party crowd. 3 Ships, 3 different music styles. Boats on fire. #pinklake #pinklakefestival #pinklake2017 #pinklakefestival2017 #lgbtqa #lgbtqia #lgbt #lgbtq #gayship #gayfestival #Austria #woerthersee #kärnten #worthersee #partyhard #boatparty #partygirls #partyboys #partyonaboat #rainbow #party #lgbtparty #gayevents #loveislove #Gay #queer #Lesbian #bisexual #transgender
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Party crowd. Boats on fire. #pinklake #pinklakefestival #pinklake2017 #pinklakefestival2017 #lgbtqa #lgbtqia #lgbt #lgbtq #gayship #gayfestival #Austria #woerthersee #kärnten #worthersee #partyhard #boatparty #partygirls #partyboys #partyonaboat #rainbow #party #lgbtparty #gayevents #loveislove #Gay #queer #Lesbian #bisexual #transgender
Not that kind of water-sports … I mean there may have been, but they weren’t on my itinerary.
While you recover from the night before, it’s important to remember that this is called the Pink Lake Festival for the very obvious reason that it is held by a lake. Add in the gorgeous 30 degree weather and bright blue skies, it would be worth the trip to just sit and soak up the sunshine while surrounded by gorgeous gays in tiny trunks. Seriously, you couldn’t make this setting up if you were writing Danielle Steele novels for homos.
Pink Lake Festival 2018
It’s not too early to start planning your visit for next year. Visit http://www.pinklake.at/en/ to find out more details and to book tickets now!
For further information on Holidays in Austria, please visit: www.austria.info
Facebook – @visitaustria
Twitter – @Austria_UK
Instagram – @visitaustria
Travel is such a huge part of modern life, and having grown up overseas and lived as a digital nomad no one gets that more than me.
As the world gets smaller we’re constantly looking for new and exciting places to visit that are safe and welcoming to the LGBT+ community.