SonneMondSterne: Festival Worlds in XR

Virtual Festival SMS.XR with dancing avatars coming out of a monitor
Clarissa Leithiger, rooom AG
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The SMS Festival has upgraded its website with an immersive 3D experience. Read how this led to a 100% increase in traffic.

The SonneMondSterne Festival (short: SMS) is considered one of Europe's biggest open-air events for electronic music. Up to 40,000 party enthusiasts gather every year in August at "Saalburg Beach" in Thuringia, a unique event location with multiple stages, club tents, a campground, and its own sandy beach. With rooom, this party experience was transferred to virtual spaces. 

  • The challenge: To provide year-round entertainment for the target audience, not just during the festival weekend. 

  • The goal: Transporting the festival’s spirit into the digital world. 

  • The implementation: An upgrade of the existing website with 3D spaces, live events, and avatars. 

  • The result: A significant increase in traffic and longer dwell time through an interactive user experience.

How do you bring a festival into the third dimension?

SMS.XR is a futuristic and unique virtual world that offers an immersive and gaming-like music experience. You can seamlessly move around different 3D spaces, navigate, and discover interactive content about the festival. Not only entertainment and electronic music are offered, the 3D website also serves as a dynamic platform for festival information and includes the ticket shop.

What does XR mean?

XR stands for Extended Reality and is an umbrella term for immersive technologies that extend the perception of reality, for examples through virtual environments. 

The organizers really wanted to capture and present the festival's character and brand identity authentically in the digital world. And they have more than succeeded: Anyone visiting the official festival website,, will be taken on an intergalactic journey, fully embracing the motto “Sun Moon Stars”.

“We didn’t just want to replicate what already exists – the advantage of virtual 3D spaces is the ability to create entirely new creative concepts without any limits,” explains Philipp Helmers, spokesperson for the SMS Festival. 

So, for Germany's first fully immersive 3D festival website, three spaced-out thematic areas were initially created: 

  • Moon Station: The arrival point in the futuristic world serves as a lobby or hub and houses the merchandise and ticket shop. 

  • Sun Stage: A dance floor inside the virtual sun where live DJ shows take place monthly. 

  • Beach: A place to explore and learn more about the artists and the lineup. Elements from the festival's real world have also been incorporated, such as the large Buddha statue and the SMS boat cruising on the dammed lake to electro beats. 

The Go-to-solution: rooomSpaces

rooom’s flexible 3D spaces take storytelling to the next level. With the accompanying Content Management System, daily changing content can be added without having to program.

More about rooomSpaces

virtual SMS buddha
virtual SMS buddha
real SMS buddha

This is what the year-round festival experience looks like:

Rethinking User Experience


Interaction occurs on a personal level: The audience not only consumes content like on a "traditional" website, they can also interact with other avatars and show reactions. The community can chat and interact through both text and spatial audio chats. Compared to previous virtual festival offerings (such as those of the Tomorrowland Festival), the expression of emotions, direct communication, and realistic dance movements of the avatars are new and unmatched. 


The independent exploration of the environment and the ability to adopt individual perspectives during DJ performances represent a technological innovation. To give users a sense of familiarity, familiar elements such as the website menu structure were included. The audience, consisting of music fans, explorers, and innovators, is introduced to the new technology and simultaneously encouraged to explore. An overview map and virtual robot assistant further facilitate navigation through the intergalactic world. 


With a big community behind it, the festival aims to make the XR experience accessible to everyone without barriers. That’s why emphasis was placed on making it accessible without the need for expensive VR headsets, just like a traditional website. rooom was chosen as the software for the project because it is a browser-based XR application that is compatible across devices, including mobile devices. The project team recognized the challenge of appealing to a broad audience while simultaneously addressing potential loading time issues. Consequently, some aspects of the original concept were adapted to the technical conditions, for example, by reducing video content in virtual spaces. The 3D content is designed to minimize server loads and thereby keep energy consumption low.

The Success of SMS.XR in Numbers

  • The 3D website receives up to 1,000 visits daily. 

  • The live shows prove to be a major draw, attracting an additional 8,000 to 10,000 techno fans monthly, which corresponds to a remarkable increase in visitor numbers of about 100 %. 

  • The emotional and interactive experience also leads to stronger user engagement. This is reflected in the exceptionally high average dwell time of 4 minutes. 

Trailblazers in the Virtual Festival Landscape

SMS.XR has managed to revolutionize virtual music experiences and push the boundaries of what's possible. The fact that such a complex and graphically appealing experience runs smoothly on mobile devices is a technological milestone.  

And the virtual live shows, which take place monthly in collaboration with various DJs, are an unprecedented experience for the event industry. The immersion created by volumetric capturing technology, the dancing crowd of avatars, and the lighting effects in the virtual space makes it incomparable to a music stream on YouTube. The artists are satisfied: the shows provide them with support and strengthen a positive and lasting relationship with their audience.  

The creativity of the SMS crew is outstanding. Philipp Helmers compares the project to building a house:  

We are the architects and engineers who envision what the house should look like.

And they are far from finished. In the spirit of innovation, the SMS team wants to continue to try new things and spark a spirit of discovery in the audience. The XR platform has opened up new avenues for partnerships and sponsors, who will soon play an active role in the virtual ecosystem. The team is already poised for the next project phase: planned are the development of a community within the 3D world, integration into the SMS app, and even more gamification, for example, through contests.

Your Next Level Brand Experience

With rooom, you get a flexible software solution to implement innovative ideas and creative digital concepts. Our team is here to help you craft your virtual and hybrid event strategies.

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Clarissa Leithiger, rooom AG
Clarissa Leithiger

Senior Marketing Manager at rooom

Clarissa joined rooom in 2020. As a digital native, she works with a passion to bring more awareness to the…

More about Clarissa Leithiger


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