SXSW or CES? Why not both?

The trade show at SXSW is one of the biggest draws at the annual festival (Courtesy SXSW)

Steve Winter, special to wtop.com

AUSTIN, Texas — We all know that the International Consumer Electronic Show is a four-day, 96-hour non-stop party.

Sponsor bashes, media showcase events, nightclub soirees and all the enticements, libations and entrapments that only a city like Vegas can offer makes CES a dynamic round-the-clock attraction.

But South-by-Southwest – commonly referred to as SXSW – now that’s a party.

Day One was barely in the books at the Austin Convention Center Friday when the happy hours started sprouting like weeds.

It didn’t matter if you were in the Registrant’s Tent in the Marriott Parking lot, in the lobby of the Hilton Austin Downtown or in a meeting room that just hours earlier played host to an interactive session or a film seminar.

The carousing started early and continued well into the night. No question, the phrase “it’s 5 o’clock somewhere” took root right here in Austin.

Revelry aside, CES and SXSW mean business, and while there are dozens of similarities between the two, there are numerous differences as well.


What’s the difference?

While the Vegas event features educational sessions, keynote speeches and seminars, CES is primarily a technology and innovation trade show – the largest trade show, in fact, in North America.

If CES is all about technology, SXSW is truly all things to all people.

In addition to the interactive festival, which runs now through Wednesday, March 11, SXSW also features individual f


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