City officials appeared willing to grant a request for a tenant tax fund of $ 300,000 to the producers of “Bands of Enchantment: Tucumcari Sessions” last week so they could shoot a second season of the show. music television broadcast nationwide early next year.
Finding that $ 300,000 will be the trickiest part, and city officials have about a month to do it.
Bands of Enchantment creator Ken Peterson and co-executive producer Vince T. Chavez, who appeared by teleconference at a Tucumcari Lodgers Tax Advisory Board meeting on Wednesday, outlined the funding request and how their Elkhorn Entertainment company has completed its contact with the city after receiving $ 120,000 in tenant tax fund assistance earlier this year.
Peterson and Chavez said the initial production of “Bands of Enchantment” actually cost the company “reimbursed” about $ 220,000 after not getting as many sponsorships as expected.
Explaining the request for $ 300,000, Chavez said it was a “balancing” proposition. He and Peterson said the 2022 production would likely take at least four weeks to shoot, down from two weeks previously. Elkhorn was able to cut back on his previous filming over a two-week period as virtually all musical acts weren’t on tour during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Peterson has said production on the 10-episode second season will begin in March, with airtime in June. Possible acts include Margo Price, Leon Bridges, and Robert Randolph, as well as musical artists based in New Mexico.
Tenant Tax Board chairman Matt Bednorz admitted he was hesitant about the $ 300,000 request – noting that it was almost half of the annual tenant tax fund budget – but that he also admired what Elkhorn did.
“You all did an amazing job,” Bednorz said. “What you did was great in the first season. I am for the idea (of financing); I am really.”
City manager Mark Martinez, calling the program “incredible” and predicting it would “explode” in popularity, said it would be difficult to find the $ 300,000.
“Is it worth $ 300,000?” Absolutely, “he said.” Can we afford $ 300,000? I’m not sure. “
Peterson said he understood the conundrum of city officials and said his company could wait a month to see if the city could come up with other financing options. He said Elkhorn could shoot his program in another part of New Mexico instead, but expressed reluctance to do so.
“I don’t want to go anywhere else,” Peterson said. “Our brand is here.
Chavez said a second season would lay the groundwork for a possible music festival in Tucumcari that would be “a big paycheck” for Elkhorn. Regarding the funding challenges now, he said, “I think we can overcome them.”
Peterson admitted that “Bands of Enchantment” was eligible for New Mexico Film Office tax credits. He said he also tried to secure funding from the state tourism board, but to no avail.
“I’ve been knocking on the door for six months,” Peterson said of New Mexico True.
Martinez added that the state’s tourism board doesn’t seem inclined to support productions that marry one municipality instead of New Mexico as a whole.
City liaison Todd Duplantis said he would like to brainstorm with residents on funding options and monitor the tourism effects of “Bands of Enchantment” after the recently aired episodes in the Amarillo area.
Tucumcari MainStreet Executive Director Connie Loveland suggested contacting the state’s Department of Economic Development and sponsoring the Union Pacific Railroad or Gibson Guitars.
Last year, Elkhorn originally promised eight 30-minute episodes of musical performances filmed at the Tucumcari Railroad Museum and other locations in Tucumcari last spring. Instead, the company produced 10 episodes that aired on public broadcasting system stations in New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle. Peterson said several stations have scheduled broadcasts around the long-standing “Austin City Limits”.
Peterson announced that Elkhorn recently secured a deal with PBS-TV where the episodes will air nationally for the next two years to a potential audience of 100 million people. He said PBS-TV was a “huge upgrade” from the previously slated Cowboy channel, which saw a 30% drop in viewership.
The agreement also allows people to watch “Bands of Enchantment” shows on the PBS-TV mobile app on their cell phones.
Additionally, the producers have entered into a streaming deal with IMDb TV and may have more options for streaming through Roku and others.
Peterson said Elkhorn should have audience figures for the program within a few months.
A variety of media, including the Albuquerque Journal and Yahoo! News, have published articles on “enchantment bands”. The company has produced 20 videos for YouTube and more to come, as well as clips on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media that have been shared thousands of times.
Peterson made a similar presentation of Elkhorn’s funding request on Thursday to the Tucumcari City Commission.
Subsequently, Martinez said he thought “it’s worth the $ 300,000 investment”, but “we’ll have to find a way to offset the cost.”
District 5 commissioner Duplantis said it could help attract groups to perform at the Tucumcari Convention Center and could host festivals. He mentioned that State Representative Jack Chatfield is on the New Mexico Legislature’s Film and Television Committee.
District 1 Commissioner Ralph Moya said the investment would be “like everything else: you take your chance.”
Peterson has repeatedly pointed out that Tucumcari has a “right of first refusal” as the host city of the series.
Quay County Sun correspondent Steve Hansen contributed to this report.