Custom development is always tricky without programming knowledge, but there are several content management systems that have slightly lower barriers to entry for non-programmers. There are far more than the four I've listed below, but they will give you enough to research for now.
Self-hosted ‘non-programmer friendly’ CMS
ExpressionEngine is a powerful self-hosted publishing platform that uses templating tags to display content instead of a scripted programming language. This makes it slightly easier to learn and use for non-programmers than a CMS that requires you to learn PHP.
Silverstripe is another CMS that uses simple templating tags instead of complex code. The 'build a simple site' tutorial is worth walking through.
For both of these, you'll need some knowledge of HTML and CSS to design your templates, but they offer the advantage of not having to learn a Web scripting language such as PHP in order to build a fairly complex website.
Hosted ‘non-programmer friendly’ CMS
If you're comfortable paying a monthly fee to use a CMS instead of installing one on your own rented server, the following are both non-programmer friendly:
Squarespace offers a 'website builder' with a range of 'building blocks' that you can link together. It's a drag-and-drop solution and doesn't offer the fine-grained control you'll get with a self-hosted CMS, but it's great for getting fairly simple sites up and running fast, and the in-browser design tools are impressive.
Business Catalyst is Adobe's hosted "CMS + eCommerce + CRM + Analytics + Email Marketing + Social Marketing + Blog + SEO" product. It's aimed specifically at Web design and development companies, but is usable by individuals too, and they market it as a 'no coding required' solution.
Your specific requirements
In regards to your requests:
an email alert system that notifies users when content about their favorite artists, venues, etc. is added
I would suggest using MailChimp for this. Here's how:
- Create a mailing list and add groups for each category of interest (e.g. band name).
- Offer a way for site visitors to join your mailing list using a customised sign-up form where they can check the tick boxes next to their interests.
- Create a category for each of the bands in your CMS of choice, and post any new announcements for that band in the relevant category. How you do this depends on the CMS, but the result is that you should be provided with an RSS feed for that category only.
- Finally, you would set up an RSS campaign for each of the band names using the RSS feed for each category. This results in an email being sent to anyone who signed up and marked that band as one of their interests every time you add a new post to that category in the CMS.
It might sound complicated, but doing it this way means you can build the system without programming knowledge, and you don't need to look for a CMS that supports email notification upon post updates (few do out of the box).
a log-in system for members.
Most CMS include a log-in system, including all of the above mentioned software.
Google map showing location of events of interest
You can embed Google maps on any web page, regardless of what CMS it uses.
Although I have no relevant technical skills myself, I do know an experienced Java/Groovy web developer, who might be able to help, so all other things being equal, I would favor a CMS which allows extensions/plugins to be written in one of those languages.
I'm sorry to say that I've never used a CMS written in Java, and none spring to mind. I would suspect that a Java CMS would have slightly more complex hosting and technical requirements, so it might not be suited for a non-programmer anyway. (PHP content management systems are far more common and generally inexpensive to host too, so I'd suggest focussing your search there if you decide to host the project yourself.)