We might be living through a monsoon in the UK right now, but here at NME we’ve got our eyes set firmly on the summer with our Ultimate Festival Guide 2012 issue. That means sun (hopefully), fields (definitely) and Biffy Clyro being “middle-aged fat guys with their shirts off”.

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Elsewhere in our bumper guide you can find out what to expect from this year’s biggest festival shows (Two Door do ballads! Tinie goes Coldplay! The Vaccines get moody!), work out which metal-heads are set to blow your ears clean off and learn which Britpop stars will be pulling some new material from up their leopard print sleeves…

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There’s also an in-depth assessment of the festival season’s newest hopefuls, Example’s step-by-step guide to surviving the summer weekender (warning: may contain ketamine) and Priya Elan steps into the weird and wonderful world of hip-hop’s most colourful character, Nicki Minaj.

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And if you’re not quite ready to start packing your wellies just yet, don't worry. We grabbed ex-Hole guitarist Eric Erlandson for a chat to set the record straight about Kurt Cobain’s so-called ‘lost album’, whilst the credibility war over bands with backing tracks rages on. In the red corner: Fred “We’re a pop group” Spector. In the blue corner: Steven “it’s like soulless karaoke” Blood Red Shoes. Fiiiiiiight!

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Then, there’s our assessment on the Jarman brothers’ newest offering, Jack White’s first solo UK outing and “an evening with Beyonce’s knob-twiddlers”. Ooh-er…

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Subscribe to NME here, or get this week's digital issue for your iPad, laptop or home computer.

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