Providence Farm is a therapeutic community that provides programs for people who are encountering barriers to education and employment. They offer programs based on principles of horticultural therapy and vocational training and believe caring for the land is by nature healing and therapeutic. The Vancouver Island Providence Community Association started in 1979 and was gifted the site by the Sisters of St. Ann.
The festival takes place at the 400-acre site of the former St. Ann’s Academy, which was started as a boarding school by the Sisters of St. Ann in 1864. When the school first opened, 21 girls ages 4 through 18 were registered. The girls came from six different Quw’utsun (Cowichan) First Nations in the area including Kwa’mutsun (Quamichan), Qw’umiyiqun (Comiekan) and Xwulqw’selu (Koksilah). In 1876 the school was enlarged to make room for orphaned girls from St. Ann’s Academy in Victoria and became a school for both Native and non-Native children. The current building was constructed in 1924 and St. Ann’s Academy operated as both a day school and a boarding school for girls and boys until it closed in 1964.