The South West Amiga Group (SWAG) originally formed in December 1997. They met once a month in Bristol to discuss their favourite computer. The group continued in various forms until 2005 when the group finally disbanded.

SWAG ca. 2003
SWAG ca. 2003 via Wayback Machine

In 2016, riding the wave of renewed interest in the platform, the group was resurrected in a new venue in Swindon with new meets planned for three times a year. We soon realised that the Makerspace in Swindon wasn’t big enough to hold a group that was expanding at a rapid rate, so with a bit of negotiation we settled on a premises outside of Bristol in Chipping Sodbury that could hold just over 100 people and we still use this place to this day.

SWAG’s main focus is to bring people together to embrace not just the original classical, but next generation machines including all Amiga OS variants, MorphOS and AROS. This includes physical, emulated and FPGA based platforms such as the Minimig.

SWAG experimented with ‘Workbench’ Event, after supporting national events like Retro Revival, we decided that we would have a go at doing an event in the village hall at Chipping Sodbury, this was very successful as we attracted people within the industry from all over to our place.

SWAG has now been running for over 8 years in its new form and has now helped other user groups form across the UK, mostly because we were finding that many people were driving all across the UK just to come to us, the success of the Amiga platform is mostly due to the resurgence in the retro scene, nostalgia and with many people returning to the platform, various new experiences (games, graphics, animations, demos etc) are all still widely available and still being created today.

SWAG has been part of many YouTube videos and also has been in the Kickstart Documentary and has supported most of the Amiga related events in the UK.

All are welcome – but remember … Only Amiga Makes it Possible 🙂

SWAG WordPress banner source image copyright Paul Kitching.  Used with permission.

SWAG Over the years

In 2016-2018, riding the wave of renewed interest in the platform, the group was resurrected, a new venue found at the Bristol Makerspace where followed a few meets.

In 2017-19, we were invited by Retro Revival to help out at their very successful Event at Banks Stadium in Walsall where we showcased a selection of great and hard to find Amiga computers.

In 2019 Keeping the prices low, we soon found that we ran out of space (irony) and we needed to expand to a more suitable community hall just by Bristol when we launched Workbench, the first Amiga UK event since the 90s while we proposed to continue with our meets at this new location.  We had guest speakers including Trevor Dickinson, Matthew from Amiga Kit, plenty of space and we ran a SpeedBall II tournament and had Keith from Retro Museum in Swindon collaborating on the microphone.

In 2020, we had Workbench in January where are friends Howard from Dubious Engineering and Ravi Abbott from The Retro Hour who brought his PT Amigas to do a mix,  

In 2022 we managed to just get our last Workbench event out which was packed with guests including H0ffman and Ravi with a mix-off.  We had many traders and talks throughout including Retro Games Limited with the Amiga 500 mini.  All this just before the certain virus took control, after a while we decided to see if anyone was still interested in our meets still and sure enough we were sold out within minutes for all forthcoming meets.

In 2023 we were very happy with the success of SWAG and that we were reaching capacity that we encouraged other members to start their own groups, with the help the Amiga Addict magazine, we now helped many groups including Yorkshire Amiga Group, Kickstart Group, Midlands Amiga Enthusiasts, Robin Hood Amiga Group and more.  Also that year was the launch of a more mainstream UK Amiga event ‘Kickstart 01’ at Notts County Football Stadium and we helped with gathering together the Amiga groups to build a supporting Amiga community room.

In 2024, we started looking to see if we can expand our reach and we are now testing additional locations which include Exeter.

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