SWAG 16 – Saturday 3rd Feb 2024

As 2023 draws to a close we’re already well underway with organising the SWAG meetings for the year ahead and those events where SWAG members will be invited to exhibit at.

To get 2024 off to a great start, our first meet of the year will take place at Dodington Parish Hall, Chipping Sodbury, on Saturday 3rd February, running from 10am – 10pm. Tickets will go on sale via the SWAG web site on New Year’s Day – Monday 1st January. Please note that all adults MUST have a ticket to attend the event. Your ticket price helps cover the room hire, your drinks and snacks plus a lunchtime buffet. Tickets must be purchased before the date of the event. Under 18’s accompanied by an adult are free. We just need to know how many you’re bringing so we can cater accordingly.

Resident SWAG gamer Gil is already hard at work planning the February prize-winning games tournament, while we will once again have the repair desks up and running to help get your Amiga and peripherals back in working condition. Don’t forget that we run a tip jar scheme, so if you do get your equipment repaired please consider giving them some pennies as a thank you.

As always, the selling desks will be ready for you to drop your unwanted kit off onto for other SWAG members to rummage through and buy. For sellers, this is a great way to make money out of equipment you no longer need and if you’re a buyer you can pick up some fantastic bargains.

We’ll have full details of the event schedule nearer to the date. In the meantime, if you’d like to demo anything you’ve been working on or run a training session at the event then please get in touch. We’d love you to be part of the day’s line up.

Finally, we’d just like to give a big thank you to Chris Wilkins of Fusion Retro Books for sponsoring our last event, and we wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.

The SWAG Committee (Derek, Zeb, Dave, Scott, Gil, Rob, Steve)

We are ready for SWAG #15 (but what happened to us this year?)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, we are still running the South West Amiga Group and this year is no exception, our last meet was actually February 18th in Chipping Sodbury and now we are in August.  No SWAG for nearly 6 months? What really? We usually have 3 meets a year.  We will be back on September 23rd and tickets will be going on sale next weekend, 27th August at 8pm – you will expect the usual run of the mill antics, recapping, familiar faces, Amigas and we will be running another private online auction from the 1st September.

So, we needed a much earnt break from organising, we done it for a while and we were asked by two people to assist with bringing two great events and we decided to put our Workbench brand on ice while we helped create the first Amiga only expo in the UK for a long time, which was headed up by Ravi Abbott who is mostly known for his work on the Retro Hour podcast and you will also find him work alongside the Amiga Addict magazine.  

Kickstart 01


Slightly out of the South West we headed over to Nottingham to one of the famous football stadiums known as Notts County Football Ground.  Myself (Dave) and the team setup three tables in the far end of the conference areas while the other side was filed with trader stands and from Friday to Sunday we had a huge turnout of people who wanted to know more about where they could meet and get back into the Amiga that many used to have when they were a child.  There was also an after party with a twist, it was held in a Brewery which also was licensed to have parties, we had music from Paulee Alex Bow, Jon Hare and few quite well known DJ’s with Amiga’s, wonder who they are?  There was an excellent line up of talks that certainly was worth watching and quite a few SWAG regulars made the trip to see us.

A New Amiga Show in 2023? Kickstart 01 | Retro Road Trip
Playing back the Talks

Zzap Live


We were also contacted by our dear friend Craig Turner (known for Revival Events where we have assisted over the last 3-4 years) and Chris Wilkins (known mostly for the Fusion Magazine and Books) asked us to assist with the Amiga section of his first Commodore Event held in Kenilworth’s Holiday Inn.  Well, we will give it a go and sure enough the one day event was jam packed with plenty of items going on.  This was an event that was split over two big conference sized rooms and a small Q/A Talks room.  Many who helped with the magazine were there and had some notable people in the Commodore community who were either playing games with us or giving an insight about what they did during the early years.  Closing with an after party where we had music from Jon Hare, TDK and others making the day a worthwhile event. 

Zzap! Live 2023 | The Retro Shed
Playing back Zzap Live including the Talks


We at SWAG have been very fortunate with the generosity of those who have allowed the public to use their Amiga’s at the two events, with that in mind, I will be setting up a £10 coupon for those who ‘exhibited’ at each event as a gesture of thanks, this coupon *should* be able to be used on ticket purchasing, auction payment and merch (I need to do a few adjustments).  Some of you have spent a lot at the recent events, although this doesn’t cover anywhere near what was spent, it does indeed

UK User Groups

In the last year, we have been helping other groups understand what they need and we have been promoting them, working with Michael Nicholson and Duncan Woodward, they have been working on the Yorkshire Amiga Group and they have already had regular meets in Rochdale, Sheffield and the new North West Computer Museum.  We are in talks with other groups and we may have another appearing in the North East, the Midlands, London and deeper in the South West soon.  Decades ago when the internet was more of less a BBS and telephone connection, there was various groups all over the UK where you could go and one of them is the Kickstart group (not to be confused with Ravi’s event), Chris Green and Vinay Dhir in Surrey have tickets on sale and we wish them the best of luck with it. 


So we will look forward to seeing you all at SWAG, this will be the final time that I will be organising Chipping Sodbury and it’s unlikely that I will attend in 2024 onwards, Robert Hazelby will be taking the reins for February 3rd meet forwards, I will be working more on personal projects and I (with help of Zeb) will try our best to bring you a Exeter (or nearby) meet in 2024/25.  We will also be trying to work out how we can use the Workbench branding, we will also be talking to the event people too but we will be returning to THREE SWAG meets in 2024 ! After 14 meets, I feel that my work in Chipping Sodbury is done and I need to work on other things.  However, thank you all for your continued support.