Serving the High Plains

Film crew to arrive in city next month

A film crew will arrive in Tucumcari next month to begin filming four episodes of the "Bands of Enchantment" music television show, the city manager said during a Lodgers Tax Board meeting Wednesday.

City Manager Mark Martinez said Elkhorn Entertainment, based in Chicago and Los Angeles, is tentatively scheduled to begin filming at the historic Tucumcari Railroad Depot on Feb. 11 and will stay in town for two weeks.

Martinez said Elkhorn originally envisioned staging the music performances at the Tucumcari Convention Center but chose the depot instead because of its rustic look. He said they mostly would shoot those episodes in the depot's east wing.

Martinez said the restored Tucumcari Motel neon sign that once stood near downtown would be moved from the New Mexico Route 66 Museum in the convention center so it could be used as a backdrop.

Martinez said Elkhorn was seeking national sponsors for its program and was recruiting nationally known music acts to perform. He declined to name the acts "Bands of Enchantment" was trying to woo.

"There were some big names out there," he said.

Elkhorn's principals have envisioned the 30-minute episodes as a New Mexico version of PBS' long-running "Austin City Limits" music program.

The first episode of "Bands of Enchantment" are projected to air in the spring on New Mexico PBS stations, RFD-TV's Cowboy Channel and the Amazon Prime online platform.

New Mexico PBS stations reach 650,000 households weekly. RFD-TV's Cowboy Channel is in over 50 million homes on cable and satellite TV. Amazon Prime can reach nearly 100 million viewers.

The Tucumcari City Commission last month approved an agreement with "Bands of Enchantment" producers through which the city will support the production of the series' first four episodes in three payments totaling $60,000 in lodgers tax funds.

Martinez said the city may determine later whether to cover expenses for four more episodes.