Customers are demanding refunds from Amo, who backed the concert that was set for Dec. 1, 2012, at the Farmington Civic Center only to be canceled the day of the show.
Amo said he is unable to provide full refunds to everyone.
"The company's teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, and I'm trying desperately not to file for bankruptcy," he said.
The canceled concert was a sharp setback for Amo, who had announced in the fall that he would begin bringing country music acts to the Civic Center.
After promoting a successful show in October featuring country musician Jerrod Niemann, Amo brought in Cagle, a Nashville, Tenn.,-based artist known for songs such as "Let there be cowgirls."
Amo said slow ticket sales presaged troubles for the concert. It was canceled after he came up about $4,000 short on the band's $20,000 fee.
The last-minute cancellation and inability to obtain refunds has left customers furious. Several ticket-buyers said they had been unable to get any money back from Amo.
Brian Robertson, a 26-year-old Farmington pipeline operator, said he left several email and phone messages for Amo asking for a refund for two tickets.
"It's $140 of my money that he's had for two months now," Robertson said. "I want it back."
Amo said he sold 298 tickets, raising $11,968. He said he was able to come up with about $16,000 to pay the band.
Amo said he was nevertheless surprised when Cagle's side pulled out of the show. He said Cagle had vocal problems the day of the show, and asked for salted gargling water to treat his voice.
"Chris Cagle was unable to sing that night," Amo said. "I guarantee it."
The office of Cagle's agent at William Morris Endeavor in Nashville declined to comment.
The recriminations accomplish nothing for Amo's paying customers. Bill McLiverty, a local pharmacist, purchased three tickets for $79.50. He said he has left a dozen voice and email messages for Amo, to no avail.
"It's disappointing," McLiverty said.
Customers are not the only group that lost money due to the canceled show. Amo stopped payment on a $1,000 check for use of the Civic Center's Miriam M. Taylor Theater, supervisor Lisa Hutchens said.
Civic Center officials did not anticipate any problems because Amo's previous show "went off without a hitch," Hutchens said.
"We didn't know there were any issues until the day of," she said. "We're out our money too."
Amo, a seasoned concert promoter, worked for seven years at the Phil L. Thomas Performing Arts Center in Shiprock, a venue owned by Central Consolidated School District. Amo's job was cut in April 2012.
After leaving the district, Amo sought to attract quality acts to Farmington that locals would otherwise have to travel to Albuquerque to see.
Amo had forged a partnership with Lance Johnson of Zebra's Sports Grill to put on the concerts. Johnson provided catering services for the bands and helped pay their fees. Johnson said Amo would need to "rectify the situation" before he would work with Amo again. But he didn't rule it out.
"I want to bring new things to Farmington," he said.
Johnson said he was also out money that he furnished for Cagle's fee.
Amo said he's unsure of his next steps. He operated through Mark Amo Presents, a limited liability company, or LLC, doing business as Fource Concerts. Using the LLC could protect him from personal liability from the canceled show.
Amo has explored bringing in another act and letting ticket-holders for the Cagle show in for free.
"We're working to schedule another concert as a replacement," he said. "It's been a little bit of problem, but I'll find something."
Customers are split on that whether they want to see a substitute performer. McLiverty said a substitute would be acceptable. "We're not that picky," he said.
But others said they either want to see Cagle or get a full refund.
"I don't think that's acceptable," said Robertson. "I paid for Chris Cagle, and I didn't get Chris Cagle. It's not up to you who I watch. I'd like my money back. I don't want another concert."
The Cagle show's cancellation has left local concertgoers pessimistic about Farmington attracting quality acts. Music fans like McLiverty may be left looking to Albuquerque for big-name performers.
"Our next tickets are down at the Santa Ana Star (casino near Albuquerque) in March for Carrie Underwood," McLiverty said
Looking back, Amo said he should have canceled the concert earlier.
"I got caught in a really bizarre situation," he said.