The Vandalia Gathering, an annual Memorial Day weekend festival of traditional West Virginia music and culture, has been scaled back and merged with the state's June sesquicentennial celebration.
And a lot of local musicians aren't happy about it.
"I've had people come into the store and they're calling their state officials because they're afraid they're trying to end it," said Joe Dobbs, who owns Fret 'n Fiddle, a music shop in St. Albans. "I think it's one of the great things that happens in West Virginia, and people in other states don't have anything like we do."
Vandalia will take place over two days in May, rather than the usual three. Many of the festival's features -- dancing, craft vendors, outdoor concerts and the liars contest -- will take place in June, rather than this weekend. There will be music, but most of it will be indoors, without many of the impromptu jam sessions that musicians say make Vandalia special.
Chad Ashworth has been to every Vandalia Gathering, starting with the first one in 1977, when he was 4 years old. His grandparents raised him, and when his grandfather died, Ashworth inherited his banjo. Ashworth will be playing in the banjo contest at Vandalia this year but said it will be different because everything will be indoors.
"I have a son who's 2 now. This will be the sixth year I've done the contest, and my son is not going to be able to sit on a bale of hay and have a roasted ear of corn and watch his father play," Ashworth said. "Vandalia is kids running around outside."
Many musicians said they understood the desire to emphasize the sesquicentennial celebration, but were scared that a scaled-back Vandalia Gathering could become the norm.
"So often, when things are scaled back, they never get scaled back up to where they were - and, of course, we won't know until next year," said Bill Kimmons, who will emcee the instrument contests at Vandalia and also perform with his a capella group, Bare Bones.
Kimmons' wife and bandmate, Rebecca, agreed.
"It's one thing this year to scale it back," she said. "My concern is that it will remain scaled back."
Pete Kosky also has been to every Vandalia Gathering. He won the liars contest at last year's festival and came in second in the old-time banjo competition. He will perform at Vandalia this year and also is concerned that the smaller version could become permanent, and something will be lost.