The Crawdad Wranglers at the Astra Party!
by Ryan Thomson
The Astra company is a huge outfit involved in pharmaceuticals and medical products. My
cajun band, the Crawdad Wranglers, was hired to entertain at a large outdoor employee
party at the company's Massachusetts headquarters. We were told to "look for the
pyramid," on the way to the site. Sure enough, we could see a huge, blue, pyramid shaped
building from several miles away.
When we arrived, we discovered that we were only one small part of an elaborate
presentation involving entertainment of many varieties. We had brought our sound system,
amps for the guitar and bass, and our microphones. When we began to unpack we were told
that our equipment wouldn't be needed since we were to "lead the parade." "What
parade?" we asked.
The organizers had come up with the idea that the Crawdad Wranglers would lead a group
of actresses in colorful costumes in colorful costumes in a grand parade from the parking
lot to an open field behind the pyramid building where there were tents and booths in sort
of a carnival setting. But since the employees were due to arrive in shifts our continuing
mission was to go out to the parking lot and lead groups of them to the party area. Well, so
much for the electric guitar and bass since they aren't particularly portable. Luckily I had
my trusty accordion and a few percussion instruments to pass out to the bass and guitar
We never got to actually perform as a band, but then, we served our time effectively,
providing a party ambience, and I suppose that the employees had a great time. On our
breaks I wandered over to the area where a group of hired stunt bicycle riders did flips and
and other aerial manuvers. When the Astra company throws a party, they don't hold back!
Written by Ryan Thomson, 1997