Singer, guitarist and songwriter Bob Weir, a founding member of the Grateful Dead, drew one of the most spirited crowds in years at MerleFest 2006. He performed with The Waybacks on several Dead classics on Friday afternoon, the moment that inspired the creation of Hillside Album Hour. During the performance a number of artists including Sam Bush, Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings spontaneously joined the set. Pete and Mike Seeger were both at the festival. Pete along with Sarah Lee Guthrie, Johnny Irion, Slaid Cleaves, Guy Clark and Jimmy LaFave appeared on Saturday night in the Woody Guthrie tribute, “Ribbon of Skyway: Endless Highway.” Another great “MerleFest Moment” that both enlivened and ecstasized festival goers was when Nickel Creek broke out in the Brittney Spears number “Toxic.” More than ever MerleFest 2006 represented the evolution and connectedness of musical styles that define the festival. This just goes to show that you never know what you’ll hear during those spontaneous, unrehearsed “MerleFest Moments” that create never-ending “MerleFest Memories.”
Other performers at MerleFest 2006 included Doc and Richard Watson, Béla Fleck & The Flecktones, The Avett Brothers, Tut Taylor, Hot Tuna, John Prine, Chatham County Line, the Ditty Bops, The Duhks, Alison Brown Quartet, Joe Smothers, Steep Canyon Rangers, Sam Bush, John Cowan and The Isaacs.