The Bluemont Concert Series, informed last month that it has lost $34,000 in state grants, has appealed to local governments to make up the shortfall.

The Leesburg-based concert series, which administers hundreds of programs ranging from country dances to art education in schools, was promised the money in June. The concert series planned to use the grant from the Virginia Commission for the Arts to help pay expenses from its summer courthouse concerts, which take place for 10 weeks from June to August.

The money, given under a program called the Local Government Challenge Grant, would have matched up to $5,000 in donations from each local government served by the concert series.

But it never came through. The concert series received official word in September that the grant was canceled because of state budget cuts.

"We'd already provided the {summer} program," said Peter Dunning, executive director of the Bluemont Concert Series. "It left us with no alternative . . . . All we can do is ask for help."

Peggy Baggett, executive director of the Virginia Commission for the Arts, said the state last month cut $1.1 million, or more than 20 percent, from the commission's budget. The cuts came nearly three months into the current fiscal year. Baggett said the commission had to eliminate the $250,000 Local Government Challenge Grant program even though the money already had been promised.

"We had written checks for all our other funding programs," she said. "The Local Government Challenge Grant, just by bad luck, happened to be the last set of checks to be written."

Dunning said the concert series has paid its summer performers, but owes money to people it hired to help with sound and lighting and items such as printing. He said the summer concerts, which attracted an average of 1,600 people for each performance in Loudoun County, cost about $140,00 to produce. Of that, $34,000 was to have come from the state, and the rest from local governments and private donations.

Dunning said Loudoun County has agreed to provide an extra $5,000, and Warrenton has agreed to give an extra $3,500. The series is awaiting word from Leesburg, from which it has asked $5,000, and from Culpeper, Winchester and the counties of Fauquier, Frederick and Culpeper. Susan Farmer, public information officer for Leesburg, said the Town Council will vote on the request Wednesday.