Events & festivals

Group of people taking a selfie at a picnic

Events and festivals provide a great opportunity to celebrate all the things we love about life in Australia. However, the long periods of time spent outdoors, often during peak UV times puts attendees at risk of skin damage. Organisers have a duty of care to protect patrons as well as their staff and volunteers. UV radiation needs to be considered as part of safety and risk management planning, as well as during the event.

Here are some simple strategies to help organisers plan and host a SunSmart event:

Please note: As a not-for-profit program, SunSmart does not have the resources to be able to provide free sunscreen or shade for community events.

How to hold a SunSmart event


  • Planning: 
  • Timing: Where possible, schedule your event for early morning or late afternoon/evening to avoid peak UV times.
  • 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/or portable shade structures. When setting up and positioning stages, presentation areas and merchandise tents, consider the path of the sun to take advantage of any shade that could be created. Ask vendors to supply shade for their customers. Consider charging a lower fee for stallholders who provide shade for the general public.
  • Training: Train staff and volunteers to understand UV radiation risks at work and how they can reduce their UV exposure with good sun protection. Find more information on providing a safe working environment. Ensure all staff and volunteers are aware of the daily sun protection times.
  • Uniforms: Whether you are providing uniforms or your event staff can choose what they wear, ensure clothing meets sun protection guidelines. Look for clothing that is cool and covers as much skin as possible, such as tops with elbow to full-length sleeves and a higher neckline or collar and long pants or skirt. The fabric should be densely woven, preferably with a UPF50 rating. All staff should have a sun-protective hat that shades the face, neck and ears e.g. broad-brimmed (at least 7.5cm brim), legionnaire or bucket (deep crown and 6cm brim). Find out more about sun protective clothing and hats.
  • Messaging: Remind patrons to bring sun protection via pre-event bulletins, website banners, event guides and social media. Ensure security are aware sunscreen is permitted for bag search purposes. If your festival has an app, include sun protection reminders and tips. Add the SunSmart widget to the event/organisation’s website and regularly remind staff and patrons to download the free SunSmart Global UV app.

On the day

  • Sun protection times: Have the daily sun protection times on display via  signage or by adding the free  SunSmart widget to your event website. Clearly display sun protection times at the entry to ensure everyone is aware of when sun protection is needed.
  • Sunscreen provision: 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 for staff. Our research shows that if sunscreen is available, people will use it. To help raise the profile of sunscreen and create some fun and interest in applying it, try having a sunscreen application kiosk at your event. Check out these new sunscreen dispensers by SunSquirt. Please note: SunSquirt is not a Cancer Council product but it does dispense Cancer Council Ultra SPF50+ sunscreen.
  • Role modelling: Encourage staff and volunteers to role model SunSmart practices and invite performers to promote the sun protection message during festival sets. All staff should be wearing sun protective clothing, hats and sunglasses.
  • Big screens: Play the Sid Seagull TVC during appropriate breaks in the event proceedings to remind patrons about sun protection.
  • PA announcements: Play SunSmart’s pre-recorded public announcements over a loudspeaker during the event. Or just regularly remind patrons to use and reapply sun protection throughout the day.
  • Resources: Create a display of SunSmart resources including brochures and posters.

SunSmart pre-recorded announcements

Links and downloads

Format Size
Advice for festivals located in Victoria. Use it to help meet your OHS obligations and plan a sun safe event.
pdf 155 Kb
Advice for festivals located around Australia. Use it to help meet your OHS obligations and plan a sun safe event.
pdf 158 Kb
These guidelines can be used by individuals, organisations and local governments wanting to increase availability of quality shade in a range of settings.
pdf 1287 Kb