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Festival and event organisers have a duty of care to protect event-goers, staff and volunteers from overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

Sun protection needs to be considered as part of the event planning process and implemented when events are being held outdoors. At Cancer Council SA we want to support event organisers to do this and help minimise the risk of skin cancer for all South Australians.

Why plan SunSmart events?

  • Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. In fact, two in three Australians will develop some form of skin cancer by the age of 70, despite it being one of the most preventable cancers.
  • Overexposure to UV from the sun can cause sunburn, skin damage, eye damage and ultimately skin cancer.
  • Festivals and outdoor events are common places for people to experience skin damage and sunburn.

Do I need sun protection at my event?

  • SunSmart event planning is important if your event is being held when UV is 3 and above and participants are expected to be outdoors for long periods of time, putting them at risk of overexposure to the sun.
  • UV is likely to reach 3 and above every day in South Australia from the start of August through to the end of April. Maximum UV levels peak over the middle of the day, and sun protection times vary a great deal during August to April. The higher the maximum UV level forecast, the longer the sun protection times.
  • Always check the UV Index and local sun protection times for your location.

Before your event:

  • Planning: use the SunSmart event checklist to ensure you have considered all elements of sun protection so your event can run smoothly.
  • Timing: where possible, schedule your event for early morning or late afternoon/evening to avoid the times when UV is at its peak. If this is not possible, consider additional sun protection measures for event-goers, staff and volunteers.
  • Location: use the Shade Comparison Check to assess the quality of shade at your proposed event location and identify strategies for taking advantage of existing shade spaces and how to increase shade through the provision of portable shade structures.
  • Training: educate staff and volunteers to understand UV radiation risks at work and how they can reduce their UV exposure with good sun protection. If you supply uniforms, ensure they provide good protection from UV radiation, such as long-sleeved tops and broad-brimmed hats.
  • Messaging: remind event-goers to be SunSmart and promote the importance of sun protection via pre-event bulletins, website banners, event guides, flyers, tickets, and social media.

On your event day:

  • Sun protection times: display the daily sun protection times on signage at the event or by adding the free SunSmart widget to your event website. If your festival or event has an app, you could also include sun protection reminders and tips.
  • Provide sunscreen: arrange for sunscreen to be sold or made available at your event. Contact a local sunscreen retailer—such as a pharmacy or supermarket— who may like to support your event with sunscreen. Sunscreen may be tax deductible if staff are purchasing it for themselves. Sunscreen pump packs are also available for purchase via the Cancer Council Shop. Call the store on 08 8232 4832 or email to receive your 20 percent wholesale discount (discount not available for personal purchases).
  • Role model: encourage staff and volunteers to role model SunSmart practices and invite performers to promote the sun protection message during festival/event sets.
  • Big screens: play relevant Cancer Council SunSmart campaigns (e.g. Sid Seagull, UV it all adds up, UV 3 and above, My UV daily with Sonny Burns available on Cancer Council SA’s Youtube channel) during appropriate breaks in the event proceedings to remind event-goers about sun protection.
  • PA announcements:  have the MC or event announcer remind event-goers to use sun protection during the event or play the SunSmart pre-recorded announcements over a loudspeaker.
  • Resources: create a display of SunSmart resources including flyers, brochures, posters, and wallet cards for event-goers who want more information.

How to achieve a SunSmart status:

  • Ensure that staff and volunteers are made aware of the importance of sun protection when UV levels are 3 and above via pre-event briefings and education sessions.
  • Provide staff and volunteers with sunscreen, hats, and sun-protective clothing.
  • Maximise shade! Consider providing temporary shade such as marquees, portable gazebos, and shade sails if the existing shade is inadequate.
  • Ensure the event editorial, publications, advertising, and promotional images reflect the SunSmart message.
  • Ensure event-goers are made aware of the importance of sun protection when UV levels are 3 and above by displaying the sun protection times and making public announcements during the event.

Download the SunSmart Global UV app

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This webpage was last reviewed and updated in July 2023