Written by Michelle Stark, CNN
Therapy is supposed to help make us better. In that regard, a recent trip to Ecouterre in Oregon offers a glimpse of the not-so-new arrival to the cultural scene: Psychedelic retreats.
A trip to the psychosocial center’s live music festival — featuring massive indoor stoner festivals, trippy meditations, vinyasa-style classes and a pile of psychedelic gifts — begins like most cultural experiences — with a dose of alcohol.
Created by artist Jason Wilson, Ecouterre is an advertising agency that hosts weekend-long parties in Oregon, beginning with a rock-and-roll fashion show attended by “rock stars” in 1970s-style threads. The company notes on its website that the idea was inspired by designer David Bowie, who was a client. As noted by Wired’s Donovan Slack , Ecouterre’s artists also frequently collaborate with musicians and designers — a quality that fits well with the 420-friendly vibe of psychedelics.
A body shot from one of Ecouterre’s headlining (and supposedly live-streamed) stoner rock shows. Credit: Ecouterre
“Seventy-two percent of the people at Ecouterre go to work the next day,” Wilson told the Atlantic . The attendance is primarily industry- and holiday-related, he added.
Though Wilson may be a relatively new player on the scene, he’s already a formidable influence. His Ecouterre “Back to the Future” retrospective exhibit, which has been traveling the globe since its debut in 2005, won awards and received thousands of visits, according to Outside magazine
Staging a party on a massive scale may require dramatic staging — but there’s no denying the popularity of a good themed room and greasy cuisine, both of which Ecouterre provides, along with art, performances and psychedelic merchandise.
Tucked away in an Oregon suburb, the 24-acre in-house grounds is a part-timers paradise complete with an orchard, a swimming pool and a hydrotherapy area — all free of charge for agency attendees. Until Wilson gained global recognition, he rented out the property for art shows and weddings, and was attracted to the area’s quiet atmosphere.
Park with a view and a gym. Credit: Ecouterre
A reference to the social experiment suggests that there are more stories to come. Though ecouterre has yet to launch similar events in other parts of the world, the agent is preparing for launch in several major cities. Another mentioned location is a Malibu mansion Wilson recently acquired, and sold to Venice Beach producer duo Swoon — a unit is currently up for sale.
Of course, Wilson will focus on the original Ecouterre location when it welcomes his Los Angeles and Seattle clients, according to his website. Until then, book it to steam ahead in the psychedelic retreats business.