Inside the Wells Fargo Center.

Everyone’s been talking about the Democratic National Convention. But there’s a lot of noise. You know there are gonna be speakers, and this thing’s on TV. What’s worth turning off Netflix for?

So with that in mind, here’s a rundown for everyone — from delegates and media in and around the Wells Fargo Center to Pete in Newbold Point Breeze. (If you’re a city resident, keep this guide for traffic and parking information. If you’re a protester, keep this one to know what you can and can’t do.) Here’s everything you need to know about what’s going on inside Wells Fargo this week:

How to get in

This one’s simple: You’ve got to have a ticket and be pre-credentialed to get into the Wells Fargo Center. So if you haven’t heard about that by now, you’re probably not going to be able to get in. Which leads us to…

How to live stream it

All the top networks and cable companies will have their own live streams to choose from. For a stream that’s uninterrupted by news anchors, the folks at the Convention will have their own live stream here once proceedings begin at 4 p.m. Monday.

How to follow along with coverage

Billy Penn will have reporters inside and outside the Wells Fargo Center thoughout the week, as well as covering the protests, parties and everything in between. Follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our DNC “story” to get email updates about big news this week.

What happens in the Wells Fargo Center

The opening gavel is at 4 p.m. every day, and from there there’s basically… a lot of speakers. We’ll get to them. The whole reason for the convention is the casting of votes by delegates, which we explain here. The gist: In order to become a presidential nominee, at least on the Democratic side, a candidate must win the majority of support from 2,382 of the more than 4,000 delegates representing each of the 50 states and American territories.

The only delegates who don’t have to pledge who they will support ahead of time are superdelegates, of which there are nearly 800 and they make up 20 percent of the delegates.These are usually the leaders of the Democratic Party establishment — think Ed Rendell and Bob Casey types — and are coveted spots selected by the party heads of each state.

The delegate system of selecting a presidential nominee is more of an ode to tradition than anything else. The clear winner following the primary was Hillary Clinton. Don’t expect anything to deviate from that. Delegates cast their “votes” through a roll call system; here’s what that looked like in ’08:

YouTube video

What do delegates do the rest of the time?

Each state delegation has a different assigned hotel where they will have a morning meeting with breakfast and speakers, who can range from members of their own delegation to the presidential or vice presidential candidate, depending on the delegation. (At the RNC, Trump running mate Mike Pence made an appearance before the Pennsylvania delegation, as did Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.) We don’t know the full scheduled for the PA delegation, but they will hear from Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta this morning.

After breakfast, they’ll heading to the Pennsylvania Convention Center for a long list of caucus meetings — Black Caucus, Youth Caucus, LGBT Caucus, etc. — as well as a number of different committees that will meet throughout the afternoon. Lunch will often be provided at these.

Then, they’ll get on chartered buses and schlep it down to the Wells Fargo Center by 4 p.m. Speakers and other activities there will wrap up by 11 p.m. and, if these folks aren’t falling asleep yet, it’s party time at their hotels and in Center City bars.

The speaker schedule

Credit: CNN screenshot


Theme: United Together

Headlining speakers: First Lady Michelle Obama and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and DREAMer Astrid Silva, who will talk about her “fight to keep families together.”

Keynote speaker: Sen. Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts

Other speakers (still in no particular order):

  • Mayor Jim Kenney, who will speak at 6:30 p.m.
  • Congressman Keith Ellison (Minnesota)
  • National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen Garcia
  • Congressman Raul Grijalva (Arizona)
  • Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal (Iowa) and candidates of the DemocraticLegislative Campaign Committee
  • SEIU President Mary Kay Henry
  • Congressman Joe Kennedy (Massachusetts)
  • Chair of the Democratic Governors Association Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy
  • Building Trades President Sean McGarvey
  • U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (Oregon)
  • Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (California) and members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus
  • AFSCME President Lee Saunders
  • AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka
  • American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten


Theme: A Lifetime of Fighting for Children and Families

Headlining speakers: President Bill Clinton and Mothers of the Movement, including Gwen Carr, Mother of Eric Garner; Sybrina Fulton, Mother of Trayvon Martin; Maria Hamilton, Mother of Dontré Hamilton; Lucia McBath, Mother of Jordan Davis; Lezley McSpadden, Mother of Michael Brown; Cleopatra Pendleton-Cowley, Mother of Hadiya Pendleton; Geneva Reed-Veal, Mother of Sandra Bland.

Other speakers (still in no particular order):

  • Democratic National Committee Vice Chair of Voter Registration and Participation Interim Chair Donna Brazile
  • Former State Senator Jason Carter (Georgia)
  • House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (California) and the Democratic Women of the House
  • Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards


Theme: Working Together

Headlining speakers: President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden

Other speakers (still in no particular order):

  • Congressman GK Butterfield and members of the Congressional Black Caucus
  • Congresswoman Judy Chu (California) and members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus
  • NARAL President Ilyse Hogue
  • Rear Admiral John Hutson (Ret. USN)
  • Civil Rights leader Jesse Jackson
  • Congressman Ben Ray Lujan and candidates of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
  • Former Congressman and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta
  • Former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey
  • EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock
  • Center for American Progress Action Fund President Neera Tanden


Theme: Stronger Together

Headlining speakers: Chelsea Clinton and Hillary Clinton

Other speakers (still in no particular order):

  • PA Senate candidate Katie McGinty
  • General John Allen (ret. USMC), former Commander, International Security Assistance Forces, and Commander, United States Forces – Afghanistan
  • Candidates of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
  • President of the Human Rights Campaign Chad Griffin
  • League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski
  • Co-Chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (New York) and LGBT rights activist Sarah McBride
  • U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (Maryland) and the Democratic Women of the Senate

Other speakers of note without specific times

Convention are sometimes coy about who’s speaking when. These are the other speakers of note whose times haven’t been officially announced:

From Pennsylvania:

  • Congressman Bob Brady
  • Congressman Brendan Boyle
  • Gov. Tom Wolf
  • Sen. Bob Casey

From everywhere else:

  • Senator Cory Booker (New Jersey)
  • Governor Jerry Brown (California)
  • Senator Sherrod Brown (Ohio)
  • Congressman Joaquin Castro (Texas)
  • Congressman James Clyburn (South Carolina)
  • Governor Andrew Cuomo (New York)
  • Governor Mark Dayton (Minnesota)
  • Former Governor Howard Dean (Vermont)
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
  • Senator Al Franken (Minnesota)
  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti
  • Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords & Captain Mark Kelly (Arizona)
  • Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (New York)
  • Governor John Hickenlooper (Colorado)
  • Senator Tim Kaine (Virginia)
  • Governor Terry McAuliffe (Virginia)
  • Senator Chris Murphy (Connecticut)
  • Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom (California)
  • Former Governor Martin O’Malley (Maryland)
  • House Minority Leader Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi
  • Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nevada)
  • Senator Chuck Schumer (New York)
  • Flint, MI Mayor Karen Weaver
  • Governor Tom Wolf (Pennsylvania)
  • Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is expected to endorse Clinton in his speech

Security at Wells Fargo

If you are heading to the Wells Fargo Center for the proceedings, know security is going to be tight and what you bring in will be heavily regulated. That means no selfie sticks. Here’s the list of banned items:

  • Aerosols
  • Ammunition
  • Animals other than service/guide dogs
  • Backpacks
  • Bags exceeding size restriction 18” x 13” x 7”
  • Bicycles
  • Balloons
  • Coolers
  • Drones and other unmanned aircraft systems
  • E-Cigarettes
  • Explosives
  • Firearms
  • Glass, thermal, or metal containers
  • Laser pointers
  • Mace/Pepper spray
  • Packages
  • Selfie sticks
  • Structures
  • Supports for signs and placards
  • Toy guns
  • Weapons of any kind
  • Any other items determined to be potential safety hazards.

Anna Orso was a reporter/curator at Billy Penn from 2014 to 2017.