Honoring Pine Knob’s Legacy Through Art: Beloved Amphitheater Kicks off Summer Season in Style

For 50 summers, Pine Knob in Clarkston, Michigan has been the go-to destination for live entertainment in the Midwest Michigan region, hosting thousands of events and providing unforgettable experiences for its patrons. Originally opened in 1972 as Pine Knob Music Theatre, the venue has undergone several name changes over the years, but its commitment to delivering top-notch entertainment remains steadfast. In 2023, Pine Knob is returning to its roots, embracing the name, vibes, and experience that made it the beloved destination for live entertainment that it is today.

The Pine Knob stage has been graced by legendary artists like The Rolling Stones, Wiz Khalifa, and Beyoncé to up-and-coming performers, and has played host to some of the biggest names in music. The venue’s amphitheater-style seating and picturesque outdoor setting make for a unique and memorable concert experience, unlike any other.

But Pine Knob isn’t just for concerts. It has also become a popular destination for a variety of events, including comedy shows, charity events, and even high school graduations. With its versatile space, Pine Knob can cater to a wide range of affairs, making it a beloved gathering spot for the community.

This year, Pine Knob held its 1st  inaugural poster competition, in collaboration with Detroit’s College for Creative Studies (CCS), showcasing some of the nation’s most talented illustration and design students. The winning design, created by Alison Slackta from Byron, MI, will be used as the venue’s Proud Partner promotional giveaway at select events and will be available for purchase throughout the season. Slackta spoke with the Michigan Chronicle about the inspirations behind her design.

“I have a lot of nostalgia related to Pine Knob. I’ve been going here for several years and created lots of great memories. I was particularly inspired by the reboot of the brand where they are bringing back the old name and its old retro style. In my poster I wanted to combine the old nostalgic 70’s retro style with more of a modern style that also represents my generation. I wanted a combination that could appeal to all ages.” Slackta explained.

Hosted over the course of the 2022 fall semester, 313 Presents, the promoter behind Pine Knob, collaborated with the students to provide them with practical, real-world experience in working with actual clients, creating a polished and professional look for their final products that captured the essence of Pine Knob’s cherished summertime tradition. Don Kilpatrick, CCS’s Illustration class leader, played a vital role in guiding the students in their journey towards creating exceptional designs.

“The fact that 313 Presents is trusting our students enough to really define the look and feel of what their season is going to look like is a big honor, and I love the fact that I was able to incorporate that into my poster illustration class,” said Don Kilpatrick, Chair of Illustration at CCS. “As a student/illustrator, you’re creating a lot of work for yourself, but when you can apply your vision and have it work with what a client like 313 Presents wants, it’s really an ideal project.” said Kilpatrick.

The top three students with the most outstanding designs were presented with scholarship awards by 313 Presents, further motivating them to continue to push the boundaries of their creativity. Their creations will serve as Pine Knob’s official, limited-edition 2023 commemorative poster, a keepsake that concertgoers will cherish for years to come.

Not only was this competition a fantastic opportunity for the students to showcase their talents, but it also enabled them to make valuable connections and gain experience that will benefit them in their future careers. As a part of this partnership, a portion of the poster’s proceeds will be donated to CCS, further supporting the institution’s mission to foster creativity and excellence in the next generation of artists and designers.

The collaboration between CCS and 313 Presents highlights the importance of investing in the future of art and design, providing students with real-world experience that will allow them to make a meaningful impact in their respective industries. With the success of this inaugural poster competition, we can look forward to seeing even more exceptional designs from CCS’s illustration students in the years to come.

Pine Knob’s vibrant new look is just the beginning of what’s in store for visitors this summer. In addition to the updated aesthetics, the venue has exciting new collaborations with vendors that are sure to be a hit with concertgoers.

One of the newest additions is TendedBar, which provides automatic cocktail bar services with transaction times of less than 30 seconds. The Rotender will also be added allowing 21+ buyers to purchase drinks and pay from their phone. This innovative technology allows for quick and efficient service, so attendees can spend more time enjoying the entertainment.

But that’s not all – Pine Knob has also teamed up with some of the region’s most popular food vendors, including Detroit Mini Donut, The Frozen Spoon, and Zdawgz. These vendors will be providing a range of delicious options for visitors to savor, adding to the already incredible experience of attending a show at Pine Knob.

As Pine Knob looks towards its future, its dedication to providing top-tier entertainment and unforgettable experiences remains unchanged. With its rich history and commitment to supporting the arts, Pine Knob is sure to continue to be a beloved destination for live entertainment for many more summers to come.

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