The 28 People You’ll Meet at 'Pine Knob' This Summer

Though about as far as possible from Detroit both geographically and culturally, the amphitheater formerly known as Pine Knob has been an institution in terms of summer concerts in Southeast Michigan for decades. Love it or hate it, most people have a Pine Knob story, and it usually involves one of these characters:

1. Dancing man covered in oil, wearing only suspenders & shorts

This is a real thing, not some sort of Pine Knob version of el Chupacabra. Affectionately referred to as "Suspenders Guy" -- he’s kind of a legend and can be found gyrating upon strangers at nearly every Pine Knob concert since the dawn of time. We’ll have what he’s having. 

2. Sunburned goth kids                 

Just holding out until Hot Topic starts selling SPF 200 and pentagram tan stencils.

3. The half-day skilled trade worker

Probably hailing from Highland or Waterford, he took the afternoon off from hanging and painting Sheetrock in order drink Friday-style in the Mötley Crüe parking lot. Usually covered in paint and likely to pick a fight.


4. Rednecks from Up North

Apart from four-wheeling, possum’ callin’ tournaments and a few festivals involving banjos, there’s not a whole lot that goes on Up North in terms of aural entertainment. Thus, there’s nothing like a Toby Keith concert in Clarkston to stop traffic on I-75S at Zilwaukee. 


5. Bikers/gearheads

Usually with long beards, wearing the same clothes they wore in the '70s, but a few pounds heavier. Can be seen crushing cans of Coors Banquet in the parking lot.

6. Metalhead who screams "SLAYERRRRRRRRRRR!" at non-Slayer shows

Secretly a big fan of yacht rock, but may forget which concert they are at halfway through.

7. Weary first-concert teenagers                

Likely consuming mass quantities of nachos and slushies, you can tell them by the deer-in-headlights look when it comes to finding a spot on the hill.

8. Concert-seasoned teenagers who arrive early for prime spots on the hill

The antipode of #7, these are the kids who show up to every single concert with $5 vouchers from their corner gas station, ready to find a spot to turn into "Make Out Point."

9. Tipsy Button-Down Shirt Dad

Usually found at Steely Dan. Usually doesn’t stray far from the beer stand. Usually wearing socks with sandals.

Flickr/Tony Alter (Edited)

10. White-Collar Farmer Tan Guy

When not sitting at a desk or drinking on a pontoon boat in West Bloomfield, this specimen can be found rockin’ out next to #9, usually in the pavilion, because, privilege.

11. Cougar Pack

50th. Birthday. Party. Usually arrive in a white limo. Usually drinking wine or some $12 kitchen sink cocktail. Usually commenting on each other’s boobs in the women’s restroom.

12. Solitary Cougar

She may have arrived solo, or made the split from her pride during the first group bathroom break. Looking to buy you a drink or bum a smoke. Proceed with caution.


13. The "I Only Sit in the Pavilion" Music Snob

For some people, the rich cultural biome of a "Pine Knob" concert is enough to warrant $15 lawn tickets and a chance to glimpse a wrinkly rockstar’s face on the big screen. But for purists -- usually the kind of guys who have become guitar virtuosos in their basements for an audience of cats -- no concert is worth going to if you can’t sit in a sonically controlled environment. Give them surround sound or give them death!


14. Screaming scantily clad young women

The high frequencies achieved are startling. Also, why do they all have the word "PINK" written on their butts?

15. Newly Legal College Bro

Hollister tank top. Shorts. Sandals. Backward visor. White sunglasses. Shock Top.

16. The couple who can't keep balance on the hill

They were the first to arrive, and will be the last to leave. Covered in dirt and grass stains from rolling down the hill during the first 10 minutes of Eddie Money.  

17. Rockin' Geezer

May have sampled the brown acid at Woodstock and never came back. Usually found at Blue Öyster Cult.


18. Kid Rock fans 

A combination of #s 1-17 -- their power increases with the frequency of Kid Rock concerts. They’ll be taking the entire month of August as vacation, and won’t even have to leave Clarkston!

19. Cool Parking Lot Dad

He's roasting a bone and listening to Foghat while his kids hit the 89X concert. He's THE best person to park next to.

20. Hula-Hooping Jackass

His hip-swiveling is taking up prime real estate. He’s created some kind of vortex. He won’t stop. HELP!

21. The radio contest winners

Have no idea what show they are seeing. It's likely Barenaked Ladies. "Oh gee, Nancy, these guys are really swell!"  

22. The Soaked Smuggler

His grand plan to smuggle booze in didn't go as smoothly as hoped. Begrudgingly sipping on a hard lemonade and standing in the wheelchair-access area until he gets kicked out.


23. The Cell Phone Moviemaker

His friends will really appreciate all the dimly lit videos with unrecognizable sound that he uploads to Instagram. No, really.

24. Sleepers on the other side of the hill

Probably went a little overboard on the Little Caesars and White Zinfandel.

25. The solitary person with an enormous picnic blanket

You know, the one who says she is "waiting" on "friends" who aren’t actually coming. There’s no shame in going to see Bryan Adams by yourself, lady. Make some room for all those lovers out there.

26. Friendly housewives at the concession stand

In need of a part-time job to get them out of the house in the summer, they are excited to be surrounded by people -- unless it’s Ozzfest day, in which case you’ll feel their judgy eyes and the overwhelming sense of how glad they are that their kids didn’t turn out like you.

27. The Sweaty Hipster

Flannel. Wool hat. Skinny jeans. Suffering through a $9 macro because that’s all he could scrape together from the seats in his band van.

28. Out-of-their element Juggalos

He’s got a hatchet-man tattoo and half-sweated off face paint; she’s wearing a black and orange tutu with striped-knee socks, both are wishing they were at the Gathering instead.

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