John Summit at Ford Park

On Saturday, February 17th, thousands of ravers ventured into the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Why, you may ask? John Summit (known to friends and family as John Schuster) and his record label and event brand, Experts Only, landed in Vail for a weekend of electric pop-ups and shows.

Schuster is a producer and DJ native to Chicago. This energetic house music icon has gained a massive fan base since getting his start in music. According to his official bio, Schuster has “over 500 million global streams on Spotify alone.” It’s no wonder house heads traveled far and wide to enjoy his music this past weekend in a beautiful, snowy setting.

Ford Park(ing Lot)

The event on Saturday took place in the parking lot of Ford Park in Vail, Colorado. There was no vehicle access to the venue, meaning attendees needed to plan ahead and either walk or shuttle in from Vail Village.

Inside the venue were a few different food trucks (thank goodness) at the back of the lot and drink booths on either side of the stage. A merch booth offered a variety of exclusive Experts Only and event-specific items including hats, hoodies, crew necks, puffer jackets, and ski goggles. They also had socks for sale, and people could be seen using them as mittens once the sun went behind the mountain.

Attendees were encouraged to dress in warm ski and snowboard gear to fit the Experts Only vibe. That being said, it was also forecast to be in the single digits by the end of the show. Fuzzy bucket hats, ski jackets, and moon boots were plentiful.

GS5

GS5 kicked off the event, filling Vail Valley with the sweet sound of house music. The sun was shining at this point in the afternoon, which allowed both the artists on stage and the attendees in the audience to soak in the mountain scenery. The size of the crowd was growing rapidly, bopping along to mixes of familiar favorites including “What Is Love” by Haddaway.

A huge LED screen ran beautiful visuals throughout the entire show. These consisted of the Experts Only logo (double black diamonds) fading in and out with other mountain imagery and live footage of the artists on stage. Multicolored lights and strobe lights surrounded the entire stage as well.

Ranger Trucco

Up next, Ranger Trucco (real name William Ranger Trucco) brought immaculate après vibes to the dance floor. His energy was contagious, and you could tell he was having a blast on stage. While the sun set, the venue continued to fill.

For this show, the VIP section was on stage behind the DJ. How freaking cool. For the first two sets of the night, the lighting on stage drew focus to both the DJ and the energetic crowd behind them.

Max Styler

The last artist to hit the stage before Schuster was Max Styler. His set was much higher energy, with some darker, grimy house throughout. For Styler’s set, the lighting on the stage changed slightly to draw the crowd’s attention to him instead of the VIPs on stage.

Styler did a stellar job at getting the crowd ready for Schuster. Fun fact: There were hardly any phones out. It was so refreshing to see a sea of people engaging with each other and the music instead of feeling the need to record every single drop. About thirty minutes into Styler’s set, the lasers finally came out!

“Warning: High BPM”

Schuster was scheduled to come on at 8:00 PM, but he started his set about thirty minutes early. Unsurprisingly, he started with his brand new track, “Shiver” with Hayla. At this point, the venue was pretty full! People without tickets could be seen watching the show from behind the gate as well as across the interstate.

Lasers, pyrotechnics on top of the festival-sized stage, and go-go dancers dressed in winter wear started the set with a bang. A drone circled the venue for his entire set, collecting some surely awesome footage. Think that’s all of Schuster’s production? Nope! The Experts Only logo was also projected onto the mountainside next to the venue.

At one point towards the beginning of Schuster’s set, the mic cut out so no one could hear what he was saying. He briefly stopped the set while the sound issues got fixed, kept his cool, and then the show resumed.

A Winter Benderland

For two and a half hours, Schuster ripped banger after banger. “Sweet Disposition” by the Temper Trap (John Summit and Silver Panda Remix), “Human” featuring Echoes, and “Where You Are” with Hayla were just a few well-known tracks that he played.

Occasionally, you could see people enjoying the show from up on someone’s shoulders. At one point, Schuster shouted into the mic that it was cold out and told the crowd they were legends for sticking it out in that weather.

Schuster’s set concluded with a B3B with Trucco and Styler. Schuster played remixes of “Sweater Weather” by The Neighborhood and “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye featuring Kimbra. The grand finale was, once again, “Shiver” with Hayla.

Get Home Safe, Experts

It was finally time for the people who endured the freezing cold for the entire show to make their way somewhere warm. Some walked back to their local accommodations while others drove back to the city of Denver, including myself.

This event was truly spectacular. Each artist brought amazing energy, which rippled through the crowd. The mountain air was crisp, and the people were friendly. Colorado can’t wait to have John Summit back sometime soon! If you have a chance to attend an Experts Only curated event, I highly recommend. *Chef’s Kiss*

Photos by Noah Weiss

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