Pine Knob Music Theatre [Formerly Known As Dte Energy Music Theatre]

50 Years of Music at Pine Knob Music Theatre [formerly known as DTE Energy Music Theatre]

In 2001, Pine Knob Music Theatre in Clarkston Michigan was renamed to DTE Energy Music Theater. But those of us who had known it as Pine Knob never really stopped calling it that.

Twenty years later, on its 50th anniversary, the DTE name has been removed, and it’s Pine Knob once again. The iconic Michigan music venue says its returning to its roots, offering its patrons “a vintage feel and art that captures the beloved, scenic landscape symbolic of Michigan’s premier summer concert destination.”

An open-air music venue featuring many big-name artists over the years, you’d be hard-pressed to find a Michigander who hasn’t been to Pine Knob (formerly known as DTE Energy Music Theatre) or at least driven past it.

2022 Pine Knob Lineup:

Awesome Mitten contributor, Jeremy Beyma shared his love of Pine Knob (then known at DTE Music Theatre) with us in 2012. While the name of the venue has changed, our love for it and memories of it have not…

Memories of DTE Energy Music Theatre

Some people look at a calendar or check the weather, but for me, I know summer is about to start when I hear radio stations having contests to win Eddie Money tickets at DTE Energy Music Theatre (formerly Pine Knob Music Theatre). He kicks off the summer concert series just about every year – and puts on one heck of a show I might add.

I’ve attended a number of great concerts at DTE, including my first concert: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. My tickets got me into a seat for that one, but most of my tickets to follow did not.

“The Hill” at Pine Knob

DTE is an amphitheater, which is really just a fancy Greek word for an open-air venue. So, some people get seats, while the rest sit on “The Hill.” Yes, I know that “The Hill” is also a nickname for the entire venue, but that’s likely because that’s where most of us sit most of the time.

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Photo courtesy of DTE Energy Music Theatre, 2012

Now, if you’re lucky, the weather will be nice to you when you’re on “The Hill,” but I’ve certainly been to a couple of concerts where I stood on a muddy slope. I can think of one Dave Matthews Band concert in particular – and it was pouring rain.

The seats and the stage are covered by a roof without walls. Due to the nature of the amphitheater’s setup, one of the great things about the venue is the social atmosphere.

“The Hill” area is all general admission, and typically people bring blankets or beach chairs (if they are short enough) to sit on. Once you pick a spot (especially if it is a good spot), you can be certain to be surrounded by a bunch of strange new friends who all like the same kind of music and are looking to have a fun time.

For any concert-goer without telescopic vision, there are two giant eight and a half by eleven-foot screens zoomed in on the various musical stars. And you won’t need super-hearing either. DTE has a custom-made large-array distributed sound system. I can tell you personally that when it comes to sound, there is no bad seat in the house.

A Brief History of Pine Knob Music Theatre

The Awesome Mitten-Dte Energy Music Theatre 03
Photo courtesy of DTE Energy Music Theatre, 2012

Pine Knob is celebrating its 50 year anniversary this year. The amphitheater opened on June 25, 1972, with a concert by David Cassidy.

Since David Cassidy, the venue has hosted concerts by Chicago, Aerosmith, Bob Dylan, and hundreds more. They’ve put on festivals like Ozzfest, Lilith Fair, and Lollapalooza (back when it still toured).

Pine Knob Music Theatre truly is part of Detroit’s music history, and it will continue to be an amazing venue to experience concerts and festivals into the future.

Share your favorite Pine Knob memories with us in the comments below…