The Performance Pavilion was built in 1995, and is located in the west side of the Park, just below the Capitol building. This outdoor stage provides a facility for theater, music, and dance performances by local artists, performing groups and community based organizations. It hosts two of the most impressive cultural events in the state – the Paul Brown Monday Night Jazz Series and the Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz.

The Paul Brown Monday Night Jazz Series, named after its founder, noted jazz bassist and music educator, Paul Brown, has been recognized as a New England Legacy and is referenced in the Library of Congress as the oldest free continuously run jazz festival in the United States. Each year the Hartford Jazz Society seeks to present a diverse program featuring musicians exhibiting the highest artistic excellence, many of which are often new to the Greater Hartford audience. In 2023, it is celebrating its 56th year. After 25 years producing the Monday Night Jazz Series, the Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz was conceived by Paul Brown in 1991, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Monday Night Jazz. Both of these musical treasures attract thousands to Bushnell Park every summer.