I think I may have found an events manager/registration system for WordPress that functions similarly to Eventbrite but without the per-ticket fee (see my previous review of Events+) – Events Manager Pro. There is a free version, but some key features are missing, so I strongly suggest shelling out the one-time fee of $75 to support this excellent plugin.
On the Admin side, events are added just like you would add a new post. Recurring Events have their own screen, separate from the main events page, which was confusing, but the learning curve is not steep at all.
One nice feature allows the site manager to set up various levels for submitting new events. This means that you could create a community events page where the public can submit an event, which is then moderated by an admin before being added to the actual site.
The front-end integration is really nice. Check out the demo here. Events Manager Pro is created with designer control in mind, so just about anything to do with how events display to the public can be changed. Check out one of the available sidebar widgets:
Are your events located all over town? There’s a map for that:
The downside is, of course, that you need to get the paid pro version to be able to sell event tickets. However, at $75 this plugin is well worth the cost and I’m going to suggest it to my own clients in the future.