A "happy-go-lucky" 21-year-old spent five hours in surgery yesterday after being brutally beaten in an allegedly unprovoked attack at a music festival.

George Cook, 21, of Longmead Road, Epsom, was attacked at the Sonisphere Festival, which took place from Friday to Sunday at Knebworth Park.

The builders’ merchant, who works at Travis Perkins in Epsom, was at the rock and heavy metal concert with work colleagues when he was targeted by a gang of three on Friday, July 4.

Reece O’Brien, 20, Mr Cook’s best friend, said this was an unprovoked attack in which three men knocked down a fence to find Mr Cook in the Red 2 Camping Field, on the site of the festival, where they left the ex-Blenheim High School student for dead.

He said Mr Cook was left unconscious in the incident and had numerous fractures to his face, a broken jaw and a smashed eye socket.

Mr Cook underwent a five-hour operation yesterday at St George’s Hospital, in Tooting, in which he had a metal plate fitted to his jaw. 

He is now recovering at home.

Mr O’Brien, who was not at the festival with his friend but has spoken to him since the attack, said: "They attacked him unprovoked. 

"They knocked down a small fence to get to him, that’s how badly they wanted to hurt him.  They left him on the floor and people found him.

"He started feeling the pain this morning, but he is in good spirits. 

"He doesn’t understand why they knocked down a fence to do it.

"He wouldn’t hurt a fly and will get on with anyone who will get on with him. 

"He’s very happy-go-lucky and it’s a testament to him that all this has been done to him and he’s still in good spirits. 

"He lights up a room when he walks in.  He’s the life and soul of the party."

A Hertfordshire Police spokesman said: "One serious incident occurred which saw a 21-year-old man from Surrey suffering serious injuries following an assault in the Red 2 campsite on Friday night, July 4.

"He received injuries to his face and jaw which require surgery.

"It is believed three offenders were involved in this assault."

Anyone with information should call Herts Police on 101, quoting crime reference number G1/14/1678, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.