Lonna Bartkowiak Remembered by the Front Range Music Scene

Tralona "Lonna" Bartkowiak is remembered as a warm presence in the Front Range music scene.
Tralona "Lonna" Bartkowiak is remembered as a warm presence in the Front Range music scene.
Jon Eisenberg
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Sunday afternoon at the Cast Iron Tavern in Golden, people danced and shared memories of 49-year-old Louisville resident Tralona "Lonna" Bartkowiak, one of ten people killed in the shooting at a Boulder King Soopers on March 22. Opening with "Shakedown Street," the soulful supergroup Psychedelly Jelly, with members from Three Days in the Saddle and Flash Mountain Flood, played the memorial and fundraiser for her family.

Bartkowiak, who did everything in her power to make others feel included and comfortable, is sorely missed by the music-festival community.

“I only met Lonna during the 2019 Red Rocks STS9 weekend,” says music fan Rosa Corolla. “I have a really hard time making friends, but STS9 is my favorite band, so even though I didn't have anyone to go with, I decided to go. Lonna invited me to join her group for the pre-party and after-party she was having at her apartment, even though I was a total stranger. I am bad with remembering people, but I will never forget her because she took me in and made me part of her group when I was all alone."

Bartkowiak was one of the co-owners of Boulder's Umba Love, a creative yoga and festival fashion and art shop. She often took her goods to both local events and out-of-state music festivals.

I first met Bartkowiak at a String Cheese Incident concert at Red Rocks several years ago, and I have seen her often at shows and around Boulder. At events, I would always stop by the Umba tent to check out what she was selling and to charge up with some good vibes. Whenever I bumped into her, whether it was at Red Rocks or the Arise Music Festival, she was beaming about live music.

“She always had a smile on her face with open arms and something extremely positive to say about everyone and everything,” says music fan Spencer Keith. “Even the first time at Electric Forest, she made the Umba tent feel like a home.”

“I vended next to Lonna for years and have my art in her store,” says Jarred Trantham, owner of Lost Sailor Leather. “She was always such a joyful person wherever she was, whether at Umba or on Jamcruise, or just a stranger on the street. She was always showing kindness. I was honored to work with her.”

Through her shop, she helped people in the music scene express their individuality in a safe space.

“She wanted to make people look good,” says Ahmad Hassan, a Boulder local who visited Umba often. “She told me she wanted to help women shed the self-consciousness that they might have.”

String Cheese, one of her favorite bands, played an important role in her life. She loved to dance and enjoy the group's music with her closest friends.

“So many people knew her, and she helped so many people. Her and her crew of pirates were just so accepting.
They've helped so many people, and she helped me personally by allowing me to make it to a bunch of music festivals by letting me work for her,” says Boulder's Brad Griffey. “She was the most hospitable woman. You could go to her whenever you needed anything, and she was always there to give you a hug if you needed it. She had that motherly energy for everybody, no matter what."

“I think if she could tell us anything right now, she would want us to remain positive and continue on without being afraid and not let this get us down,” adds Griffey.

Donate to the families of the victims of the King Soopers shooting at GoFundMe.

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