Sunfest’s 3D Festival: Global Outreach, Interactivity and Sustainability

About Sunbelt

Sunbelt Rentals UK, is a leading supplier of plant, tools and specialist equipment hire for the construction, events and infrastructure markets. 

Sunbelt Rentals UK partnered with creative events agency Fresh to launch SUNFEST, a virtual festival exploring future innovation and sustainability in rentals.

The Challenge

Face-to-face events and exhibitions, which are essential for Sunbelt to meet and connect with customers and suppliers, were all canceled because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The challenge was to create an engaging, interactive alternative to these events that would allow Sunbelt to continue networking with customers and suppliers.

The Goals

  • Create an engaging platform to connect Sunbelt with their suppliers, partners, and clients that they usually meet at large trade shows.
  • Find an innovative way to replicate a physical trade show online in order to attract valuable exhibitors and speakers.

“When the world locked down as a result of Covid-19, and the events industry was heavily impacted, Fresh had to move quickly to continue to bring value to our clients, particularly long-standing ones like Sunbelt, who trust us to keep discovering and presenting the latest technology to them to keep their events and activations innovative and engaging.”

—Stuart Whittle, Executive Creative Director at Fresh

The Solution: Sunfest, a 3D virtual festival

Fresh developed Sunfest, a 3D virtual festival exploring future innovation and sustainability in rentals.

  • On entering SUNFEST, users were able to navigate their own way around a fully interactive 3D site, comprising 10 exhibition zones, as well as a main stage area that houses the hot topic presentations.
  • The site’s design included bespoke exhibition stands and 3D models of suppliers’ products, including interiors and even small details. Custom 3D annotations were developed, which allow videos and user-friendly contact forms to be embedded.
  • The festival featured over 45 of Sunbelt’s suppliers and partners, both in virtual exhibition stands, as well as in “Hot Topic” talks, where a variety of speakers discuss topics such as connected construction sites, the use of hydrogen, and social values.

The Creation Process

Project was produced in 7 weeks from concept to completion and was live from August 20 at 8 am until the evening of September 20.

Fresh started by working closely with Sunbelt to develop a fun, futuristic, and clean aesthetic for the 3D festival world.
Fresh worked with 45 suppliers to create 45 bespoke exhibition stands. Suppliers provided graphics and a variety of files and information to create the 3D models
Fresh worked alongside to integrate the custom features such as video integration, API viewer controls, and custom annotations.

“We were hoping to attract 16 suppliers to exhibit at the event—it launches today with over 45 exhibition stands, and 7 guest speakers on our main stage, so we’re delighted with how our partners have engaged with us, and seen the potential of a virtual festival.”

—Dave Harris, Marketing Director at Sunbelt Rentals UK


  • Interactivity: visitors can explore freely or choose to go on a guided tour of the festival following the different annotations. Animations and immersive sound bring a sense of reality to the virtual environment.

“Going fully virtual for an event does have a range of benefits. It opens the event up to a global audience, has a very low environmental impact, and allows us to display products and stories that may be too big for a real-world event.”

—Dave Harris, Marketing Director at Sunbelt Rentals UK

  • Global outreach: when compared to traditional trade shows, this type of event breaks free from physical and time limitations.
  • Sustainability: the event minimizes damage to the environment by eliminating the transport, logistics, and waste caused by a real event.

September, 2020