As J.B. Wells and his Walker's Bluff staff strolled through the early crowd of about 5,000 at Moonstock 2017 on Saturday, they noticed some guests wearing shirts not part of their authorized stock.
"We asked one of the people where he got the shirt," said Wells, the chief operating officer at Walker's Bluff in Carterville.
Then his crew found at least two "guests" selling unauthorized memorabilia. "One guy had a black duffel bag and was walking around selling," he said. "Another guy was selling out of a black trash bag."
The bootleggers were taking advantage of one of the biggest events of the Great American Eclipse in southern Illinois -- Moonstock 2017, Walker's Bluff's four-day concert extravaganza with multiple rock stages. The event will crescendo during Monday's total eclipse blackout with a performance by Ozzy Osbourne.
Cynde Bunch, one of the owners of Walker's Bluff, on Sunday posted photos to her Facebook account showing a truck full of the fake shirts. Tonya Hughes-Slater, co-owner of Lucky Lady Video Gaming in Crainville, saw the post and immediately called her business.
Earlier that day, a man claiming to be part of the Walker's Bluff team dropped off a dozen shirts at the Lucky Lady and told employees he would be back to collect the sales. The price on the shirts was $20 each.
Slater was incensed when she found out about the deception. "He's telling people he's with Walker's Bluff," she said. "I told my employee to lock them in the office. He's not getting them back."
The Jackson County Sheriff's Department is investigating the bootleg merchandise.
Wells said sheriff's deputies escorted those with the contraband off the property. They have been banned and Wells said if they attempt to re-enter the property, they will be arrested.
Along with bootleg shirts, staff also found fake bumper stickers and even a forged "all-access" pass.
"The badge was a pretty darn good forgery," Wells said, but there were subtle differences, including an added signature.
"Our security staff has been fantastic," said Wells. "They jumped on it and had it rounded up quickly."
Bunch is grateful to the area businesses that helped shut down the sale of pirated goods. Other than the bootleg items, she said there have been no problems at the festival.
"This group of 'metal heads' are great guests and a fabulous addition to southern Illinois," she said.