If the social mentions are any indication people are way more excited about parties and networking than they are about attending panels and keynotes. Over the past week, leading up to the start of SXSW Interactive, for every tweet about a panel or keynote there 8 that mention partying.
Digital media isn’t as party-focused though. In the same time period, for every news story about a panel or party, there are two covering the parties. That’s still a lot more, but not nearly as large of a gap as the conversation on Twitter.