By Ron Warnick
QCS Senior Writer 

Music television series proposed to tax board


September 16, 2020

Courtesy photo

The logo for the "Bands of Enchantment" television show is shown. The producer wants to stage the music series in Tucumcari.

The Tucumcari Lodgers Tax Advisory Board on Wednesday expressed enthusiasm Wednesday to a marketing manager's formal proposal of music television series, "Bands of Enchantment," based primarily in Tucumcari that would be broadcast nationally.

Vincent Chavez of La Tewa Media, based in Sapello, said eight to 10 30-minute episodes of "Bands of Enchantment" would air on New Mexico Public Broadcast Service stations and on cable channel RFD-TV. New Mexico PBS reaches 750,000 households; RFD-TV reaches about 50 million households.

Chavez said "Bands of Enchantment" would feature country, Americana and New Mexico music. He said he wants to focus on acts from New Mexico but also had been in talks with "up-and-coming" or nationally prominent acts such as western swing band Asleep At the Wheel and singer-songwriter Ryan Bingham to also perform.

He described it as a New Mexico version of "Austin City Limits," the long-running PBS music show based in Texas.

Acting city manager Mark Martinez said many shows would be staged in front of about 200 people at the Tucumcari Convention Center, but others might occur in smaller, more intimate settings such as the Tucumcari Railroad Museum. Chavez said performing at a local ranch is another possibility.

The show also would promote Tucumcari itself, including its festivals and attractions, Chavez said.

Chavez said he was looking for up to $15,000 in financial support for the pilot episode. He said the anticipated cost for each episode would be $26,000, with advertising covering some of that.

"It's seed money to get us going," Chavez said of the city's proposed share.

Answering a question from city commission liaison Todd Duplantis, Chavez said local businesses or entities could lower the production cost through the donation of in-kind services. Martinez said the convention center also could waive its fee.

Chavez said "Bands of Enchantment" would use a filming crew of about 10 people who would stay and eat in Tucumcari's motels and restaurants during production.

Martinez said he would recommend that initial financial support for the "Bands of Enchantment" pilot come from the Lodgers Tax Advisory Board's executive side instead of the promotions side because it has more financial flexibility.

Martinez said Chavez had wanted to make his proposal to city officials for months but had been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

"I got excited about it," Martinez said. "Even with COVID, we've got a great opportunity."

Chavez said he is considering making Tucumcari the official hub for "Lands of Enchantment." He said he talked to state tourism officials months ago, and they suggested Tucumcari for the show - especially because of its Route 66 heritage.

"They felt like it would be a good place," he said.

Answering a question from board member Mike Castelli, Chavez said he'd hoped to begin production on "Bands of Enchantment" by December or January.

Board Chairman Larry Smith said of Chavez's proposal: "It has my support, my enthusiastic support."

Board member Matt Bednorz said: "This is great; this will put Tucumcari out there. We can't pass it up, in my opinion."

Other board members' responses echoed Smith's and Bednorz's opinions.

The board has scheduled a special meeting for 10 a.m. Sept. 24 to discuss funding for future tourism initiatives in the wake of the pandemic.


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