This iconic Detroit theater is returning to its original name for the 50th anniversary

The Pine Knob Music Theatre will be the Detroit's premier amphitheater, after twenty-two years as the DTE Energy Music Theatre.

This iconic Detroit theater is returning to its original name for the 50th anniversary

This name change is part the venue's 50th anniversary celebrations, which will be held this summer at 15,000 seats. The new logo incorporates elements from its 1972-2000 predecessor. In lieu of a title sponsor two local corporations, United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM), and Trinity Health, have joined as partners.

Howard Handler, president and CEO of Detroit's 313 Presents which promotes and produces concerts at Pine Knob, says that "the equity in the Pine Knob brand is undeniable" and it was obvious. "Night after evening, performers take to the stage to say "Hello Pine Knob!" We knew that there was passion, so it was only a matter of balancing that we could deliver something meaningful to the community while also being true to our business.

The Nederlander Organization opened Pine Knob on June 25, 1972, with a matinee concert featuring David Cassidy. It has hosted over 3,100 events and won numerous industry awards, including several from Billboard. Palace Sports & Entertainment, now Pistons Sports & Entertainment, purchased the venue in late 1990. 313 Presents was formed as a joint venture between Ilitch Sports + Entertainment and 313 Presents during 2017.

DTE's name change was announced in January 2001, causing a lot of fury among performers and fans. Many artists protested the change over the next 20-years, with many still calling the venue Pine Knob when they perform. James Pankow, Chicago's resident musician who has performed 81 shows at the venue, said that "It will always be Pine Knob" to him. "It's always enjoyable to return there 'cause it's doing what we can to get a great audience." Jimmy Buffett noted that "they change the names of all of them." Sorry, I don't call them by these names. They are what I see. It is irritating.

Peter Frampton recorded his Live in Detroit DVD and album at Pine Knob in 1999. He was delighted to learn of the new name. Frampton said that it had always been Pine Knob to him. From the stage, I call it that. "I am very happy Pine Knob has been rebranded." Ed Robertson, Barenaked Ladies, who recorded Talk to the Hand Live in Michigan in 2007, was also consulted by 313 Presents. He was equally thrilled by the new branding.

Robertson stated that Pine Knob was never called anything else. Pine Knob, a BNL stronghold that has been a longtime home away from home, brings me immense joy to see it being restored to its proper name.

Handler was a Pine Knob security officer in the summer of 1978. He visited 313 Presents in 2019 and stated that considerations for the name change of the amphitheater began during the 2020 pandemic. He said that he spoke to hundreds of stakeholders, guests, and artists. He said, "It wasn’t just, Oh, cool, lets do this!'" His primary concern that some people wouldn’t be aware of Pine Knob’s heritage was quickly addressed during the process.

"We were curious if (Pine Knob), with people aged 18-24, was something that they understood? '" Handler said. And when we did the research, we found that it did. It was probably something that their older siblings, parents or grandparents knew about. Or maybe they were there as Dave Matthews came on stage to say, "Hello Pine Knob!" The venue is actually 13.5 acres and sits right next to Pine Knob Ski & Snowboard Resort. Many businesses in the vicinity also have Pine Knob in their names.

UWM and Trinity were also on board, with Pine Knob taking precedence as the venue name. Handler stated that "Just like the fans and the artists, they're like, ‘Well, yeah! It's Pine Knob.'" "At the end, I think they realized that if they tap into the genuine community connection with the venue and its heritage and uniqueness, they will benefit from it in a different manner."

The DTE Energy Music Theatre hosted 25 shows during the 2021 season with an attendance of almost 265,000. In its parking lot, the venue hosted two drive-through attractions: Jurassic World in the early summer and Magic of Lights 2021 for holiday-themed entertainment. Pine Knob currently has 16 scheduled concerts for the 2022 season. Handler stated that 313 Presents plans to announce a series special 50th anniversary programs in the near future.

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