If there’s one thing that can shake you out of a lull, it’s holding yourself accountable to your tribe.

These days, what with Facebook, newsgroups, Twitter, reddit, and the whole pantheon of online services, we all seem to have as many tribes as we feel we can handle. Meetups and conferences can help bring those tribes into the real world.

Without it being too much of a revelation to anyone, I belong to the Apple ][ Clan, previously primarily online. But that changed significantly in 2015 with my attendance at Oz KFest, Australia’s own Apple ][ conference, loosely based on the KansasFest model.

2015’s was the third Oz KFest – so far, all of them have been held in towns strongly featuring “K” in their names to ensure we can stay “in the franchise”. Unfortunately, I wasn’t in a position to go to the first Oz KFest held in Mt Kiera south of Sydney in 2009 or the second one held in Kurilpa (a suburb of Brisbane, Queensland) in 2013.

In 2015, I was finally able to attend and it was Keysborough, a Melbourne suburb quite away from the central hub, which was our host city for the third Oz KFest. We were hosted by CompNow, an Apple reseller/service centre in a semi-industrial area – but what the heck, I was wasn’t there for the views, I was there for the ][s!

On the subject of the venue, a huge shout out to Jason Griffiths, who works at CompNow, and CompNow itself – the venue was phenomenal as far as space and facilities available, so thanks – you guys rock!

As anyone who has attended one of theses sorts of gatherings knows, it’s a great opportunity to re-invigorate your interest.

I know that the anticipation of the event, participating in the event (I even presented a session!) and the headspace it put me in afterwards will have a lasting impact on my Apple ][ hobby.

Tony Diaz made it all the way from the U.S. and it was an opportunity for those of us who have never been to KansasFest to tap into his vast reserves of knowledge and experience in all things Apple ][ – and be shown a not insignificant portion of his vast collection of rarities and prototypes.

I met some great friends, the atmosphere was positive and generous, with information and bits and pieces being swapped and just outright given, and there’s just that certain buzz from sharing a passion with similarly-minded people. If you get the chance, watch the time lapse video Jason recorded during the event to get a feel for it.

A direct and lasting outcome of my attendance at Oz KFest 2015 is WOzFest. After Oz KFest 2015, Tony Diaz drove his way to Sydney, and I held the first WOzFest in his honour before he flew home. For those who had been unable to attend Oz KFest, it was an opportunity to see Tony’s amazing collection of rare items, including one-of-a-kind prototypes. And those of us lucky enough to have been at both events still enjoyed the opportunity to see the items again, hear their stories again, and just be that much closer to them.

In regards to Apple ][s, 2015 was absolutely a year of re-emergence for me – right into the thick of the local Apple ][ community.

Feel free to share in the Comments what has launched you back into your retrocomputing community.

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