Thanks a lot for the quick replies. I got a connection to the database.
I had already tried to escape the $, but I still couldn't connect to the database even though the password was properly saved in the config file. The solution was to escape an extra backslash to be processed when EzPHPCal tries to connect to the database, that is, after the config file is saved. So I entered "\\\$xxxx@x" instead of only "$xxxx@x" in the password field.
It looks kinda funny, but it's enough to get it going...