The Space Cowboys are a San Francisco based collective that began its exploration of the cosmos long over a decade ago, as a diverse group of talented individuals who came together in the pursuit of the creation of unique entertainment events, mechanical contraptions and art projects. The group consists of members from all walks of life and vocations – engineers, event planners, programmers, massage therapists, designers, architects, nurses, video editors, electricians, teachers, producers, corporate executives, animators, and financial advisers. Cowboys reside not only in San Francisco, but in Oakland, Lake Tahoe, Hawaii, NYC & Brooklyn, LA & Santa Barbara, Sacramento, and even Laos. The collective serves as an outlet for the members and their friends and family to creatively and socially express themselves beyond their “day jobs”.
Our story begins with wrangling good times in the wild west of Black Rock City. As one of the first large scale dance camps at Burning Man, the group essentially constructed and ran a nightclub for a week each year on the playa, providing free beats and beverages to all nightly. Continuing the legacy of a perennial Burning Man theme camp, the Cowboys have constructed a variety of other playa art projects as well. The collective is responsible for the creation of a mechanical horse, mechanical wagon train (the Beast) consisting of a chopped-down '63 Valiant with a welded steel superstructure and 4 tow-able wagon cars, SCTV versions 0-3 (various forms of video art structures including a fifty-foot wide video wall comprised of five CRT projectors and 5 acrylic screens measuring eight feet square supported by over 2 tons of steel), and a range of other art cars including a duck, horseshoe, turtle, two rockets and two ponies. In 2003, the Cowboys inherited Martha, a deconstructed Toyota minivan from their sister camp Space Lounge (now defunct). Martha has since been fully rebuilt and dutifully serves as a transport for the troops and a mobile lounge on the playa and off.
Since 2001 the Space Cowboys are perhaps most well known for their UNIMOG All-Terrain Audio Visual Assault Vehicle (ATAVAV). Originally a 1973 Mercedes German Military vehicle, the Space Cowboy's UNIMOG was one of the world's first fully self-contained mobile sound systems, and perhaps still one of the largest off-road sound systems in the world, completely self-sufficient with lights, video projectors, screens, radio transmitters, on-board generators and a wireless network. The UNIMOG has gone where no other sound system has gone, from the desert of Black Rock, to the snow covered slopes at Squaw Valley and the urban canyons of San Francisco as a lead float in the city's LoveParade as well as countless street fairs, conventions, and BRAF supported art openings across the bay.
To fund these activities the Space Cowboys have produced some serious fundraisers in San Francisco. The parties have become legendary events in their own right. Over the years the Space Cowboys have developed an international reputation for producing the finest underground events, including the annual Black Rock Hoe Down, Ghost Ship on Treasure Island, SCAM (Space Cowboy AM), Fresh @Shine, Snow Fest in Lake Tahoe and Breakfast of Champions; a party beginning at 6am on New Years Day, which has grown into an infamous block party attracting thousands after outgrowing several suitable venues in the city.
In 2010 we began a weekly podcast called the Space Cowboys RIPEcast. Every week we share DJ sets that have either been created from live recordings (at our parties and events) or exclusive sets crafted specifically for the followers of the show. For the past three and a half years we've released a new RIPEcast every week featuring the talent of our own roster of DJs. We also include guest mixes from FOC (friends of Cowboys) in San Francisco as well as internationally acclaimed DJs including: Krafty Kuts, Soul of Man, Plump DJs, Plaza de Funk, Myagi, Elite Force, Slyde and more. We are truly blessed to be able to share our passion of music with all of our friends and fans.
No one but the greater community profits from the activities of the Space Cowboys. Each Cowboy pays yearly dues and any additional monies from fundraisers are used to create future art events and projects. For us it not about the money, but rather the creative expression, community, and something called a good time. We work hard so that we can play hard, and we play hard with our friends and family in the name of music, smiles and plenty of hugs.