'Led Zeppelin Played Here' tackles Wheaton mystery concert

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Entertainment,Music,Robert Fulton

On Jan. 20, 1969, Led Zeppelin performed for approximately 50 people at what was then known as the Wheaton Youth Center.

Allegedly.

While that scenario -- that one of the biggest rock bands in the history of rock bands performed at a small community center in Wheaton, Md., in front of just a few dozen people -- sounds far-fetched, there are people who swear it took place. And that's the crux of filmmaker Jeff Krulik's unfinished documentary "Led Zeppelin Played Here."

"In my opinion it did," Krulik said.

If you go
'Led Zeppelin Played Here'
Where: AFI Silver Theatre, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring
When: 9 p.m. Sunday
Info: Filmmaker Jeff Krulik will be there in person; $5; 301-495-6700; afi.com/silver

The AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring is showing an advance screening of "Led Zeppelin Played Here" on Sunday.

Krulik, the man behind the popular documentary "Heavy Metal Parking Lot," first came upon the Led Zeppelin at Wheaton legend while researching another project on the Laurel Pop Festival. What some consider to be Maryland's Woodstock, the Laurel Pop Festival took place in July of 1969 and featured Led Zeppelin. That's when the director caught wind of the Wheaton show.

"I've always been interested in the local, cultural history of the Washington area," said Krulik, who grew up locally. "I've always been interested in music and concerts."

As the story goes, Led Zeppelin had some extra dates available between shows in Detroit and Boston. At the last minute, band management contacted a promoter in D.C. to quickly put together a gig. That gig took place in Wheaton, at a rec center, on a Monday night, that just happened to be the same evening as Richard Nixon's first inaugural.

The show was hastily put together. There are no flyers, no posters, no advertisements, no newspaper reviews, no ticket stubs and no photos. And there are certainly no Instagram pics, Facebook status updates or Twitter posts.

There are people who swear they were at the show, and others who were regulars at what is now known as the Wheaton Community Recreation Center who have no recollection.

"Many people don't believe," Krulik said. "People who lived in Wheaton and went to those concerts didn't believe it."

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Author:

Robert Fulton

Examiner Correspondent
The Washington Examiner