The SF North Bay Region began in 1997 when Scott McKeown organized a fundraiser for the Burning Man organization at the Inn of the Beginning in Cotati. It was his first year attending Burning Man, and the organization was in financial trouble, so Scott decided to help out. Will Roger, Crimson Rose, and a few other core organizers came up from San Francisco for that event. Crimson Rose did a performance piece where she got completely naked and did a fire ceremony inside the Inn of the Beginning which could be seen from the street through the windows. It freaked out the owner at the time completely. At that event Scott started the North Bay Burning Man email list, and it all went from there.
In the fall of 1997 Burning Man started the idea of having regional leaders of burner communities (back then the term burner was not as widely used). Scott became the second ever regional leader of Burning Man groups outside of SF. He continued to be the main organizer of North Bay Burning Man (what we called it back then) from 1997 to about 2003 or so when he took over running the Harmony Festival. Scott found he just didn’t have time to do both. At that point, Zack Darling became the coordinator/leader of North Bay Burning Man.
Scott’s history with Burning Man includes co-founding the Artery with Crimson Rose in 1998. He was the Art Placement Director of Burning Man in 1999 and the Artery Volunteer Coordinator from 1999 through 2004. The name Artery didn’t appear until year 2000 when the theme that year was The Body, and his friend and North Bay Burner Mandy Tilles came up with the name “Artery,” which has stuck ever since. Scott was also a co-lead for the Burning Man theme in 1998 — the Nebulous Entity. He was one of the core organizers of the SF Decompression party alongside good friend Joe Bullock, Steve Ra$pa and others for many years. Scott’s biggest involvement in Decompression was the year it was shut down by the Oakland police at the old Sweet’s Ballroom and was held in an abandoned department store downstairs from the ballroom that they took over. He worked closely with Joe during those early years of Flambe Lounge, and was an onsite art and theme camp placement coordinator for SF Decompression during the first few years at its current location. Scott was lead organizer for a couple of years for the Mystic Beat Lounge camp at Burning Man, a large theme camp back in the early 2000s. Our regional founder still goes to Burning Man every year; 2011 was his 15th in a row.
In those early years, there were a few great Burning Man events up here in the North Bay, many of them produced by the Mystic Beat Lounge, which Scott founded in 2000. They did a bunch of Burning Man “beach burns” at Portuguese Beach back in the day. “Most of the better North Bay Burning Man parties Zack Darling was involved with, such as some of the North Bay Burning Man Decompression parties,” according to Scott. “Zack and his team went on to create some truly epic North Bay Burning Man events after I stopped doing it,” says our regional founder.
In the summer of 2011 Zack Darling stepped down as regional contact and four new RC’s were installed. Charlie Eubanks, Justin Brown, Kelly Walton and Jeremy Sharp came online in September of 2011 to serve the extensive region which covers Humboldt, Mendocino, Lake, Sonoma, Napa and Marin Counties in Northern California.